JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local lawmaker has come up with a plan to save taxpayers a lot of money.
"We need to be ahead of the curve,” said Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville.
Ray came straight to Action News with a preview of a bill he's about to introduce. It’s a bill that proposes converting all state freight trucks from diesel to natural gas.
"This is a very exciting bill. It's one that helps bring our vehicles, our freight mobility trucks, into the 21st century,” said Ray.
Ray says the bill will provide incentive grants of approximately $20,000 per truck to help with the cost of the conversion. But Ray firmly believes the state will recoup that money quickly because of the price of natural gas versus diesel.
“This is going to be something that'll be a big saver,” he said.
According to Ray, the U.S.-made fuel will cost taxpayers half what it costs to fill up a truck with diesel.
We dug a little deeper.
According to AAA, the current statewide average for a gallon of diesel is $3.94. An engineer with the Florida Department of Transportation tells Action News the state’s freight trucks typically have 100-150 gallon tanks. So if Ray’s estimates are right, conversion to natural gas could save hundreds of dollars every single time they fill up.
“It will be huge for us in terms of the state. It will save us a lot of money for our vehicles,” said Ray.
Not to mention, he says, the benefit of better air quality and a competitive edge on other states.
"It will make us extraordinarily competitive. So when people want to look at a manufacturing base, or they want to look at using one of our ports, they're looking at coming here,” said Ray.
The bill is still being drafted. Ray expects it to be finished and filed within the next week.