One ship in the Staten Island Ferry‘s fleet will be getting a green facelift for 2013. In a pilot program to help reduce the company’s fuel costs, the Department of Transportation will convert one of the diesel-guzzling ferries to natural gas. The eco-friendly ferry conversion comes with a $3 million price tag, a large portion of which was funded through a federal government grant.

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The new conversion will let one of the fleet’s smaller ferries run on liquefied natural gas and not only save the DOT on fuel costs, but also cut the boat’s carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent. Although the transformation will cost around $3 million, the DOT estimates that the switch to natural gas will pay for itself within a year.

Currently, diesel costs are around $3.91 per gallon. With the Staten Island Ferry’s consistent back and forth schedule, the weekly bill to fill up just one boat is around $150,000. However, natural gas costs only a fraction of diesel at just $.23 to $.43 per gallon equivalent, and is an obvious choice when it comes to cost effectiveness.

The ferry’s retrofit won’t interrupt regular service, and will be performed during a routine dry docking. The green conversion will be a triple win as Senator Charles Schumer says, “reducing our dependence on foreign oil, lowering operating costs and helping the environment.”

We can only hope that the new ferry will spur the DOT to make further environmentally-friendly changes, and aim for an entire green fleet of Staten Island Ferries.

+ Staten Island Ferry

Via Daily News