CROWN POINT | A nearly $200,000 federal grant will help cover the cost of alternative fuel for six police squad cars through 2015.
The six E-85 equipped police vehicles will fill up at Family Express gas stations, a local dispenser of the alternative fuel, under an agreement approved Wednesday by the Board of Public Works and Safety.
The Police Department opted for flexible fuel vehicles when it bought four new squad cars, including one unmarked car, earlier this year.
The 2013 cars, two Fords and two Dodge Chargers, all are capable of running on gasoline or a blend of gasoline and up to 85 percent ethanol, an alternative fuel.
The new cars replaced older model vehicles to bring to six the total number of flexible fuel vehicles in the 42-car department fleet.
A grant totaling $199,500 was awarded the city through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program, administered locally by the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission.
The grant, meant to encourage purchasing natural gas vehicles, covers 80 percent of the cost of alternative fuel. The city is responsible for the remaining 20 percent of the cost.
Mayor David Uran praised the program Wednesday for returning federal tax dollars to Northwest Indiana.
"It's definitely a savings to the community," Uran said.
The Board of Public Works and Safety granted the Police Department approval to establish an account with Family Express to purchase E-85 fuel for the six vehicles.
Crown Point-based Superior Petroleum Products remains the primary gas vendor for non-flexible fuel vehicles in the city fleet. The company's Crown Point locations do not have E-85 gasoline, city officials said.