The fumes emitted from diesel fuel are far from pleasant, especially when drivers find themselves following these types of vehicles down the highway. An Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection will allow UPMC to replace 20 diesel-fuel shuttle buses with compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
Tim Nedley, Senior Director of Materials Management for UPMC said the new shuttles are projected to significantly reduce fuel costs. “We believe it’s going to save us somewhere in the neighborhood of $120,000 a year in diesel and of course, they do cost more, but we think as far as the diesel is concerned, there will be a nice decrease there that we can invest in additional CNG vehicles,” Nedley said.
He said in addition to cutting fuel costs, CNG vehicles can help increase energy security, improve fuel economy, and reduce emissions. UPMC currently has 13 of the new shuttles on the road and the remaining seven will be ready next fall.
Two additional grants, administered by the Pittsburgh Region Clean Cities initiative, have been used to install six electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at UPMC East, UPMC Presbyterian, and UPMC Montefiore. Six additional stations are scheduled to be added at UPMC Shadyside, University Center, Forbes Tower Garage, and Magee Women’s Hospital in 2013.
Stephanie Stanley, spokesperson for UPMC, there is no additional cost to customers who wish to use the charging stations.
“It’s just for, what it costs for you to park in the garage, there’s no extra charge once you’re in the garage. If you’re coming in that day, whatever you pay for parking, that’s what it is. You don’t actually have to put money in the machine to use it or anything like that,” Stanley said.
The stations will be part of a vehicle charging network throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. Other charging stations are being installed along the Interstate 376 corridor from Pittsburgh International Airport to the PA Turnpike.