The Norman Transcript

April 26, 2013

CNG station is the solution for Norman’s fueling problems

By Joy Hampton
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Norman’s first Compressed Natural Gas fueling station opened in January 2012. The $1.65 million investment was funded with a large portion of federal dollars. Prior to the opening of the city’s CNG station, Norman fueled its CNG vehicles at the University of Oklahoma facility or the Oklahoma Natural Gas facility on Berry Road. Those stations will serve as backups.

The station is open to the public and is equipped to serve all CNG vehicles including passenger vehicles, larger vehicles and buses. The fueling facility will be open 24 hours per day and seven days a week on a self-service basis. The public will be served by four dual-hose, fast-fill dispensers.

The CNG station’s primary function is to fuel the city’s growing fleet of CNG vehicles, however.

The fueling station includes 12 dual-post, slow-fill dispensers which will allow up to 24 city vehicles to slowly fill overnight.

During it’s first year of operations the CNG facility exceeded expectations of public sales by more than double.

“Since opening, we have dispensed 72,000 gallons of fuel,” Norman Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary said in January 2013. “The city used 30,000, and the general public consumed 42,000.”

Those public sales generated $110,000 in revenue.

“That’s new revenue. That’s what’s key to us. This was an amazing opportunity,” O’Leary said. “We opened in January 2012. We literally doubled our projection of sales.”

O’Leary estimated that the fueling facility will have paid for itself within a couple of years. Located at 2351 Goddard Ave. on the Flood Street/State Highway 77 corridor, the facility is convenient for many motorists, but the price is worth driving out of the way to fuel up.

Policy dictated by the Norman City Council allows the city manager to set the fuel prices based on the regional market.

In Oklahoma, the legislature passed a nickel-a-gallon tax on CNG, which O’Leary said is “pretty equivalent to unleaded,” so those sales still help maintain roads and bridges across the state just as the fuel taxes on gasoline and diesel do.

“We pay state and federal on public sales,” O’Leary said. “I’m very proud of our team, Mike White and his staff. We did this entire thing in-house.”

White will speak at the Central Oklahoma Clean Cities alternative fuel symposium.

Joy Hampton

366-3539

jhampton@

normantranscript.com

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