PUBLISHED: 4:55 PM on Wednesday, July 30, 2008
AMHS official says new plan could save $5 million
JUNEAU - As all modes of transportation are being hampered by soaring fuel costs, the Alaska Marine Highway System (AMHS) has initiated a new Vessel Voyage-Power-Management System that officials are confident could save as much as $5 million in coming years.

The new system was tested on the Aurora last winter.

"The system is integrated into the ship's navigation instruments and main engines," said AMHS General Manager Capt. John Falvey. "It's designed to control the vessel's power and speed settings and eventually add to fuel consumption savings."

While the system is currently being used aboard Aurora, AMHS engineers are in the process of tracking potential fuel savings. Mathematically, Aurora could save an estimated 12 percent annually, equating to about $378,000 based on a $4 dollar per gallon of diesel fuel.

"The system costs about $250,000 in federal funds to install, but we see a fantastic opportunity to save about $5 million in coming years that we're operating these systems aboard nine of our ships," Falvey explained.