by the Texas Natural Gas Now Team
Earlier this month, Greenlink bus service took off in Downtown Houston. Mayor Annise Parker spoke at a press conference about the seven natural gas-fueled buses that will serve the downtown area for free, thanks to generous support from BG Group, Downtown District and Houston First Corporation.
This innovative private-public partnership uses Texas natural gas to transport folks along a 2.5 mile- route that offers 18 stops at major downtown attractions, including the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Central Library, Discovery Green, and City Hall. We hope you agree that the best part about this convenient ride is that it runs on compressed natural gas (CNG).
You might not know why having a bus that runs on CNG is a great move for the city of Houston. So, let’s start with better miles per gallon. Recently, the Greenlink CNG bus was shown to travel 1.02 miles per pound of CNG, or a diesel equivalent of 6.01 miles per gallon; a comparable diesel bus, on average, travels around 3 miles per gallon. This means our Houston Greenlink bus can travel twice as far as a diesel-fueled bus.
And those extra miles also mean brighter skies. Vehicles that run on natural gas are cleaner than gasoline or diesel vehicles. Seven buses may not seem like a lot, but let’s zoom out and take a quick look at the big picture. Transportation accounts for 30% of the total U.S. CO2 emissions, and, in the Houston-Galveston region, transportation accounts for almost half of our smog-forming pollution. So you can see that by switching our public transportation to run on CNG we are helping to clean the air.
Shuttling folks around downtown and helping reduce pollution would be a welcomed feat by themselves, but the benefits of Greenlink buses don't stop there.
Let’s talk about being green from the inside and out! These buses are made with 100% recyclable aluminum, making the buses lighter. The stainless steel understructure combats corrosion, and the great shade of green on the outside of the bus is a low-VOC water-based paint. Bus manufacturer Gillig built the vehicles using zero-emissions machinery in an energy-efficient plant, which recycled the oil, water, and packaging waste. Gillig ensured these the full life-cycle of these shuttles are clean and green.
"Downtown employees and visitors can now take advantage of a new resource for connecting local destinations," said Michael Mott, BG Group's senior vice president, Americas. "The first thing Greenlink riders will notice is greater convenience. Further, Greenlink is powered by natural gas - a low cost, low emission fuel, of which the U.S. has abundant reserves. For these reasons, BG Group is proud to help bring this initiative to downtown Houston."
Since 1995, the Houston Downtown Management District has facilitated many of the public and private projects that have transformed downtown. The District has set important goals with quality of life as the underlying theme: building a lasting constituency downtown; recruiting investors, retailers and tenants while retaining those already downtown; and making downtown clean, safe and attractive. A cleaner transportation option for downtown Houston is here and it makes life easier for those who work and live in downtown.
Sounds like a win to us! And the bonus is that using Texas-grown natural gas means supporting jobs and boosting our economy. Are you going to take a green ride that connects you to downtown Houston? We think you should.
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