One-Third Of CNG Fleet Out Of Service (video on web site)

POSTED: 8:18 am CDT April 14, 2006
UPDATED: 9:00 am CDT April 14, 2006

DALLAS -- Dallas police acknowledge converting more than 100 police cruisers to natural gas was a million-dollar mistake, saying the cars aren't suited for police work and are a maintenance headache.

Officers said the range in the cruisers were not up to par with their gasoline-powered counterparts and sometimes required multiple fill-ups per shift. Officers also claimed the acceleration was not what it needed to be.

So, officials with the Dallas Police Deparment moved the CNG cruisers to other divisions where high-performance wasn't needed. NBC 5 reported that nearly one-third of the natural gas police cruiser fleet is out of service, plagued by chronic mechanical problems.

Despite the program's shortcomings, Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm stands behind the city's decision to take part in the experiment.

"I don't ever want to be in the position where we are scared to try something that may be a benefit for our air quality or our operations," said Suhm. "I also don't want to be scared to say, 'OK, that didn't work as well as we thought. Let's rethink that and do it another way.'"