La Crosse County looks to save money on gas, go green

La Crosse County leaders are trying to find ways to improve efficiency and save money.

They’re “going green” by replacing old gas-guzzling vehicles with electric options.

"There are a lot of jobs that electric vehicles can do just as good, if not better, and save the county money in the long run,” said Nick Nichols, La Crosse County Sustainability Coordinator.

Nichols says you can only drive the electric vehicles on city streets – and the speed limit has to be under 35-miles-per-hour.

"Gasoline is up around $2.30, $2.40 a gallon right now,” he said. “To charge up this vehicle with gasoline, gallon-equivalent is about 15-cents."

And with a tight budget, this move is something the county is excited about.

"That's one of the things we have to be really careful about is how we spend the tax payer dollar. My job is to try and find the most efficient way to do that."

The hybrid electric trucks are made right here in Wisconsin, and Nichols says buying them isn’t just about saving money. It’s about saving jobs.

"I love it if I could legally drive one from my house I would already have one,” Nichols laughed.

The county is only test-driving one model right now, but Nichols says the feedback from county workers has been nothing but positive. He says the electric county vehicles should be purchased soon.

"Some of the guys it's like a bunch of guys with a new toy! But its good information that I'm getting back as far as how they view it and how they react to the new technology."

Nichols says each electric truck will cost the county about $12,000.

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