The propane shortage is certainly creating problems for those trying to heat their homes, but it's also creating an unexpected issue for one local police department.
For as long as Waupaca Police Chief Tim Goke can remember, a gallon of propane has always been cheaper than a gallon of gasoline. That theory is the reason why the department converted this police cruiser to run on propane, because it was meant a cost savings. But when they converted last year, they could have never predicted what was to come.
When NewsChannel 7 first tagged along with the Waupaca PD back in June and they showed off their new police car, propane was around a $1.50 gallon. Since then, it's gone up thanks to the propane shortage.
The chief says a gallon of propane is now hovering between four and five dollars. In order for his department to save money, or at least break even propane has to stay about a dollar less per gallon than regular unleaded gasoline.
Something that has not happened for a few months and something that has created a major headache for the chief.
"We had to decide to suspend the propane usage in the car because we weren't seeing the cost savings and in fact it was going to cost us more to operate it on propane than unleaded. At these costs its absolutely outrageous for us. We could never operate with them being at $5 a gallon,” explains Chief Tim Goke.
The police cruiser does have the ability to switch back and forth between propane and gasoline. In the meantime the police department is running the cruiser on gasoline only until the cost of propane comes back down.
Now the chief said that while the department could have never seen this propane shortage coming, he still feels the conversion was a wise investment in the long run. He says he's hoping that once the prices go back down they will go back to saving money.
The department says that prior to the crisis, they were saving up to $80 a month with the new system.
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