By Rehema Ellis, NBC News correspondent
Every campaign for change needs a general and in Napa Valley, California Ralph Knight is a man on on a mission. He's the director of transportation for the Napa Valley Unified School District. For more than a decade he's been researching, studying and knocking on doors soliciting funds to purchase buses that could help reduce his district's dependence on fossil fuel.
The first alternative energy school bus he got was an electric bus back in 1997.
About the same time in the late 1990's, Knight says, he got a natural gas bus. Today he's got 34 of them, 3 electric buses, one hybrid and hopes of adding 9 more hybrids to his fleet of 70 buses.
Imagine, he got started investing in alternative energy at a time when very few people were focusing on energy conservation. Remember, the 90's were the years of big gas guzzling vehicles, not electric power.
"It was a technology that was intriguing and interesting out there to have some of the only electric buses on the road." Knight says.
Last week Knight told me, " I'm paying $2.75 a gallon for natural gas compared to $5.40 a gallon for diesel. That's probably kept this place ( his school bus yard) in operation because of what we're saving now".
No doubt. And he's not finished. The guy has a dogged determination and genuine interest in finding other ways of powering his vehicles. Probably in his next life he'll hire himself out to teach other school districts how to do what he's done for Napa Valley. Are you listening, Ralph?
He's proof that even though the road to alternative energy sources isn't smooth or easy you can still get there if you've got the energy to go after it.