Councilman begins discussion on possible move toward electric vehicles

METUCHEN – With the increase of gasoline and fuel usage across all borough departments in the 2019 municipal budget, Councilman Todd Pagel said he would love to see a discussion begin on the possibility of purchasing electric vehicles.

“With the impact of climate change rapidly hitting us not only in Metuchen … I would love us to see ways we can reduce our gasoline and fuel usage,” he said.

The Borough Council approved the introduction of the $25.9 million spending plan at a meeting on April 8.

The proposed gasoline and fuel usage line is $210,000, an increase of $15,000 from 2018.

Pagel said in his research he came across more and more municipalities transitioning to electric vehicles across the East Coast. He said the borough could conduct a cost-benefit analysis and an environment analysis on electric vehicles versus gasoline vehicles.

He said a discussion would have been helpful before the proposal to purchase two police sport utility vehicles, which are included in the municipal budget for $93,000.

Borough Administrator Jay Muldoon said the move toward electric cars would not be as simple as “let’s buy an electric police car.”

Muldoon said the borough would have to see if electric vehicles are available under the state contract the borough follows to purchase police vehicles. He said the world of procurement and policy guidelines to purchase the vehicles is a nightmare within itself.

He said officials would also have to think about the mechanics the borough has in place who are trained to work on servicing gasoline vehicles.

Pagel said he looks forward to further discussion and analysis on electric vehicles.

“Not a whole lot of towns [have electric vehicles], I think Metuchen can be a leader in this,” he said.