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Gas prices have Tyler taxi company using rare, fuel efficient cars

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TYLER (KYTX) - Gas prices continue to rise, hitting transportation companies hard. In response, one Tyler taxi company is making big changes. 

The Taxi Cab Company of Tyler is a part of NDMJ Limited Transportation. The company has a brand new fleet of taxis you can only find in a couple places in the state. They're very rare to find, because they're fueled by compressed natural gas.

The company's president, Jamal Moharer, says in the long run, these cars are going to save him and customers a whole lot of money.

Taxi cab companies, shuttle buses, cargo vehicles - they're all a part of NDMJ, a business that is beginning to suffer with consistently high gas prices.

"Eventually, the cost of operation would be so high that the public could not afford to use the service , and that is not an option," said Moharer.

His solution? Alternative fuel.

"Compressed natural gas and also liquefied petroleum gas, known as CNG and LPG seem to offer a solution," he said.

Buying the alternative fuel cars put a huge dent in Moharer's pocketbook - the reason lots of other companies aren't making this change.

"In the East Texas region, we're the only public transportation provider that has embarked in this change." 

However, his five years of research gives him confidence that the investment will be worth it.

"Geological research has shown that the U.S. is blessed with the next 100 years supply of natural gas," Moharer said.

Filling his new taxis up with compressed natural gas here in East Texas costs under $2 a gallon. That's about a dollar thirty less than you're paying at the pump right now.

"Our goal is by the end of 2013 to have 100 percent of our vehicles run on alternative fuel," Moharer said.

Other local transportation agencies with similar goals have partnered with Moharer to further deal with these fuel challenges.

"Smith county, Gregg county, North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority, and NDMJ," he said.

He says the coalition could create a lot of positive changes in the future - not only for businesses, but also the general public.

Propane tanks on the company's premises fuel 6 of the new taxis, which are already in use. By the end of the month, there will be another tank there for compressed natural gas, that will fuel the other 16 cars.

That tank will only be used by NDMJ vehicles, but there are plans in the works to open an alternative gas station to the public.

A 2012 Honda Civic with compressed natural gas would run you about $26,000, which is about $8,000 more than one that takes regular gas. It's about a $10,000 difference for the Dodge Ram using compressed natural gas. Of course, there would need to be a fueling station locally for you to use one.

Using alternative fuel is only one change companies like Moharer's are making. Ride sharing, and using an efficient system that dispatches the nearest vehicle to the nearest passenger also save lots of fuel.

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