The Caddo Sheriff’s Office is going green in 2012.  In an effort to save money and help the environment, the department is converting 13 of its vehicles to bi-fuel, which will allow them to operate off compressed natural gas. 

Four passenger vans assigned to Transportation and Litter Abatement and nine sedans assigned to Investigations, Work Release, Training, and Civil will undergo the conversion process over the next few weeks.  Together, the vehicles travel about 17,500 miles per month.

Fuel costs are the primary reason for trying an alternative fuel source, Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator said. While gasoline currently costs around $3.20 per gallon, natural gas is about $1.81 per GGE.

The Sheriff’s Office chose a bi-fuel conversion instead of strictly CNG because there are currently no public CNG filling stations in Caddo Parish. Sites have been identified, but so far, no stations have been built. Until they are, Caddo deputies will fuel up with CNG in Bossier City.  If they run low while in rural Caddo parish, all they need to do is flip a switch to convert back to gasoline if needed.

The conversion is being paid for with a $173,000 grant from the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources. 

“CNG is cleaner burning with no emissions,” Prator said. “It’s better for our environment and it’s certainly better on the pocketbook as we look for ways to reduce our monthly fuel costs.” 

CPSO Fleet Manager Mike Gregory said deputies should notice no change in the performance of their vehicles after the conversion.