Truck powered by natural gas makes FF debutPublished 10:51am Wednesday, February 13, 2013 Updated 11:53am Thursday, February 14, 2013
In an effort to promote compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, Nelson Auto Center in Fergus Falls has taken delivery of its first bi-fuel vehicle from Chrysler — a 2013 Ram pick-up that runs on either gasoline or CNG. The dealership is networking with the city and others in the CNG field to bring an information session to Fergus Falls Feb. 22.
According to Gerry Worner, fleet manager for Nelson Auto group, there are several reasons to consider a CNG vehicle.
“Fuel prices are about half that of gasoline,” said Worner, adding that America’s abundant supply will keep it an affordable alternative. “There are 100 plus years of natural gas supply, including next door in North Dakota.”
Natural gas can be captured at the same time as oil drilling and North Dakota is second in the nation in production, after Texas.
Worner added that that fuel economy is about the same as gasoline while tail pipe emissions are cleaner. The vehicle at Nelson Auto Center costs about $11,000 more than a gasoline-only truck, but the added expense can be made up in fuel savings.
Nelson’s bi-fuel vehicle can run on either gas or GNG, alleviating some worry of finding a CNG filling station. But many vehicles around the country are CNG only. More than 250,000 compressed natural gas vehicles, including one out of every five transit busses, are operating successfully in the U.S. today.
CNG’s popularity stems, in part, from its clean-burning properties. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, CNG vehicles generate fewer exhaust and greenhouse gas emissions than their gasoline- or diesel-powered counterparts.
CNG pumps are readily available at gas stations in some parts of the country, but are just now catching on in Minnesota. Wisconsin-based convenience store chain Kwik Trip opened a CNG fueling station in Rochester in 2012, with 10 more locations planned to open this year.
Harold Stanislawski from the Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission is hoping more stations will jump on the CNG band wagon. His office is organizing the upcoming CNG Fueling Infrastructure Session.
“It’s really about fleet costs and being more competitive, lowering shipping costs on products to the area,” said Stanislawski. “This is already a proven technology, with numerous stations in southern states and California. We’re trying to connect the dots on the CNG fueling superhighway.”
Worner is hoping to take delivery on a Ford model of a CNG vehicle this month, and said the bi-fuel vehicles can be ordered now through Nelson. He estimates it will be about four to five years before CNG is common in passenger cars in the U.S.
The Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission, Great Plains Natural Gas, and Nelson Auto Center are networking with national CNG fueling infrastructure developers, to evaluate bringing compressed natural gas (CNG) to our region. At the upcoming CNG Fueling Infrastructure Session, experts on energy policies and regulations will provide an overview of CNG as well as insight about how organizations can use natural resource fuel to meet their energy needs in fleet operations.
The CNG Fueling Infrastructure Session will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Feb. 22 at the West Central Initiative, 1000 Western Ave. Fergus Falls. For more information, call 218-332-5428 or email firstname.lastname@example.org