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Natural Gas Vehicles

Natural Gas Vehicles

Fact: The United States has larger reserves of natural gas than Saudi Arabia does oil.

Fact: Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is less expensive than gasoline or diesel fuel and its costs are rising at a slower rate than that of other fossil fuels.

Fact: CNG, composed largely of methane, is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas.

Fact: Harmful emissions from CNG-fueled engines are up to 90 percent less than those from gasoline or diesel engines.

  1. American Natural Gas Alliance
  2. U.S. Department of Energy
  3. American Gas Association
  4. American Gas Association, U.S. Department of Energy

Pensacola Market CNG Vehicle Usage

Pensacola and the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA) are making the move to convert their fleets to be powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG). ECUA has converted a large part of its fleet over to CNG and realized a savings of $1 million in annual fuel costs and $350,000 in maintenance. The fueling stations are available not only to ECUA and city vehicles but for use by other CNG-powered fleet vehicles operating in Escambia County.

The Pine Forest Road fueling station is located at 6672 Pine Forest Road and is open 24 hours a day. The location (3.2 miles south of I-10) makes for an excellent waypoint when traveling across the Florida Panhandle. The station is equipped with four, fast-fill hoses (public and fleet use) and 90, time-fill hoses for ECUA’s fleet of refuse vehicles. The station currently serves over 130 vehicles.

On February 18, 2013, Pensacola Energy opened a private access station for City of Pensacola fleet vehicles. The City of Pensacola currently has 28 vehicles operating in Sanitation Services, Public Works, Police and Pensacola Energy departments. The station is located at 2759 Palafox Street.

A second public access station located at 3320 Copter Road (Ellyson Field Industrial Park) serves the east side of Pensacola.

“Moving as many as 275 ECUA trucks from diesel to natural gas over the next 10 years – plus all the NGVs the City will be converting – is going to make a positive impact on the overall air quality for the entire region,” said Ashton Hayward, mayor of Pensacola.

Advantages

Few alternative fuels offer the distinct and unquestionable advantages of natural gas. Natural gas is widely available, renewable (through the production of biogas or biomethane), offers greenhouse gas reductions, and produces fewer emissions compared to other traditional and alternative fuels. The use of natural gas vehicles also facilitates energy security and energy diversity.

CNG Fleet Vehicles

Currently, corporate and government fleets are the strongest adopters of natural gas vehicles, according to Dave Hurst, senior analyst for Pike Research, which recently published a report analyzing global clean technology markets. The growth has come because fleet managers are increasingly attracted to the cost of natural gas, as well as the opportunity to build fleets with a smaller carbon footprint. CNG vehicles provide a reduction in tail pipe emissions – by up to 97 percent compared with traditional gasoline vehicles. And in Los Angeles, where the transit system is converting its buses to CNG, the expected impact will be to cut 300,000 pounds of emissions from the atmosphere daily.

Jerome Webb, senior vice president of AT&T Global Fleet Operations, told Work Truck magazine the use of CNG-power vehicles dovetailed nicely with AT&T’s corporate commitment to reduce impacts to the environment. But there are other advantages as well, he said.

“We also expect a decrease in our overall fuel costs, especially as gasoline prices continue to trend upwards,” he told the magazine. “Historically, CNG is 30-40 percent cheaper than unleaded gasoline, so adding this many CNG vehicles to our fleet will have a positive impact both economically and environmentally.”

Safety

Strict safety standards make CNG vehicles as safe as gasoline-powered vehicles, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the event of a spill or accidental release, CNG poses no threat to land or water, as it is nontoxic. It also disperses rapidly, minimizing ignition risk when compared to gasoline. And natural gas, which is lighter than air, will not pool as a liquid or vapor.

Florida CNG Vehicle Rebates

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers a Natural Gas Fuel Fleet Vehicle Rebate that provides eligible applicants a rebate for the cost of conversion, or the incremental cost incurred by an applicant in connection with the conversion, purchase, or lease for a minimum term of five years, of a natural gas fleet vehicle placed into service on or after July 1, 2013. Click here for Florida Natural Gas Fuel Fleet Vehicle Rebate Program Details.

Looking for a CNG Vehicle?

Listed below are just a few of the many options available for locating a CNG vehicle.

New and used vehicle dealers with CNG service technicians:

Used Vehicles:

Auctions:

Consumer Use

Though most natural gas used today is a fossil fuel extracted from deposits found deep within the earth, a growing amount of natural gas produced from landfills, sewage plants and agricultural waste (referred to as bio-gas or bio-methane) is being utilized.

Currently, because of the scarcity of CNG refueling sites for non-fleet operators, most CNG-powered vehicles have been fleet vehicles that either return to terminals on a daily basis or, like UPS, are confined to routes. But with more and more CNG fueling stations proposed, that trend is expected to change in the future and many analysts even envision a sharp increase in the number of CNG-fueled private vehicles.

For more information about CNG and fleet operations, check out these links: