ST. CLOUD -- A seven month review of Metro Bus' fuel costs shows a big savings thanks to the new Compressed Natural Gas powered buses.

Metro Bus bought 23 large fixed-route buses that run on CNG.  The fuel is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than diesel fuel. Metro Bus received grants to help buy the buses and build the re-fueling station. But, Metro Bus Director of Finance Paula Mastey says they had to bond for the local match to those grants. She says they are using the savings to help pay down the bond.

Mastey says they are paying $1.07 on average for a gallon-equivalent of CNG compared to $2.88 right now for diesel fuel. That's a savings of $1.82 per gallon or about $400,000 annually.  As Metro Bus replaces its aging fleet with new CNG buses, Mastey says those savings will increase.

Metro Bus has a fuel budget of approximately $1,200,000 per year.

Last May, Metro Bus became the first public transit system in the state of Minnesota to run buses on Compressed Natural Gas.