By Chuck Mai, AAA
Well, I haven’t actually seen the fuel – because compressed natural gas is a colorless vapor – but I have seen what it can do. And one of those things is reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Another thing is save motorists money. Right now (mid-July, 2012), CNG is averaging $1.44 per gallon gasoline equivalent across Oklahoma compared with a statewide average of $3.30 today for regular self-serve gasoline. Less than half the price.
Today, Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores opened another CNG re-fueling depot – its first in Oklahoma City – at the Love’s at I-35 and NE 122nd St. The fueling station was opened in partnership with Chesapeake Energy Corporation, a major producer of CNG.
Love’s has jumped on the CNG bandwagon big time. The firm announced in December that they would be opening ten CNG fueling stations this year across Oklahoma: two in OKC and one each in Pauls Valley, Norman, Okemah, Lawton, Guymon, Guthrie, Chickasha and Altus.
As OKC Mayor Mick Cornett said at today’s grand opening, “Oklahoma City is a leader in many ways, including in the development of CNG infrastructure. CNG is truly the fuel of the future and I am proud that two Oklahoma City-based companies are helping drive the CNG market toward continued success and adoption.”
Still on the fence about CNG? I don’t blame you. But you know what? The decision to go with a CNG-powered vehicle is getting easier and easier all the time. There are now dozens of public CNG fueling stations in Oklahoma and converting vehicles from gasoline to CNG is getting cheaper as the technology becomes more refined. Can’t leave gasoline behind? Consider a hybrid that runs on gasoline and CNG. Chevy has their GMC Natural Gas Bi-Fuel pickup that’ll be new for 2013, Ram is also going to offer a natural gas HD pickup, and there’s the 2012 and 2013 Honda Civic Natural Gas, among others.
Even more motivation comes from Mike Duoba, an engineer at the auto research center at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, Ill.: “Our conclusion is that natural gas as a transportation fuel has both adequate abundance and cost advantages that make a strong case to focus interest in the technology as a real game changer in US energy security. In terms of consumer ownership and use costs, the case to make a switch from current fuels to CNG is much more compelling than for other alternative fuels like ethanol and electricity.”
I don’t own stock in any company that is in the CNG business but I gotta tell you, CNG is clean, it’s abundant, and it seems so right for today and certainly right for Oklahoma.