First CNG station opens to the public in North Austin

Compressed natural gas pump (KXAN Photo)
Compressed natural gas pump (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — As a city that prides itself on ways to be clean and green, it can sure be difficult with the amount of gas we burn just sitting in Austin traffic. But now, there’s a new fuel station in town that’s taking us one step closer to keep our air cleaner and fume-free.

A new compressed natural gas (CNG) station recently opened up in North Austin, making it easier for CNG drivers to fuel up.

“It’s clean, it’s abundant and in normal times, it is the cheapest,” says Wayne Snead, a CNG specialist for Texas Gas Service. “I was selling the idea, the concept, of using CNG as a transportation fuel on a daily basis. You start getting questions, well what are you driving?” That’s when Snead says he wanted to “walk the talk,” so he bought a personal vehicle that operates solely on CNG.

Bob Baldwin, President and CEO of CNG4America, explains how CNG is obtained. “It’s taking the natural gas out of the ground when you drill for it and you filter off what you call methane… what we’re selling is methane. It’s very simple. Very clean.”

CNG Fast Facts

  • 500 fuel stations in U.S.
  • 250,000 vehicles using CNG in U.S.

However, with only two other locations, both of which are in south Austin, Snead had to go out of the way to fuel up. That is until recently.

“There is no difference in the performance in the vehicle from gasoline to CNG, the only difference was availability of supply,” says Snead as he expresses his excitement for the new location. And he’s not the only one. Super Shuttle, Meals on Wheels, and even some of the city’s garbage trucks are operating on CNG as well. Texas Gas Service joined in on the partnership with CNG4America with almost 50 vehicles in their fleet that use CNG.

“It’s very important that we have multiple locations in a city because no businesses will switch to natural gas if there’s only one location. There’s too much risk to them to keep their businesses running,” says Baldwin.

Baldwin also says that over the past two to three years, people have been switching to CNG because the price difference can be a dollar and a half to two dollars cheaper per gallon, at times.

The benefits to our air quality is also a major focus.

“The air in our skies we want it to have clean…when you’re driving around in a neighborhood you don’t want to put a lot of fumes out that can be harmful to people,” Baldwin tells us. With this unique type of fueling station conveniently placed in north Austin, it’s now easier to access compressed natural gas across the metro area.

According to Snead, “With the abundance of natural gas, it’s the now fuel.”

If you’d like to see a map of alternative fueling stations across Austin visit: Alternative Fuels Data Center.

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