Friday, March 11, 2011

Rising Fuel Prices Could Spur Natural Gas Boom

I posted this blog, because this blog talked about a real case about CNG happened in Oklahoma. This bolg talked that With oil prices hovering above $100 a barrel for the first time since 2008, and gasoline prices etching closer to $3.50 a gallon, the thought of paying 75 cents a gallon for CNG could change the minds of many Oklahomans.

One local company is on the forefront of bringing the abundance of Oklahoma’s natural gas reserves into the driveways and highways of Shawnee residents.
Ronnie Oldham, owner of CleanFuel Conversions in Shawnee, said most people in the industry expected compressed natural gas to explode with growth.
“Over the last couple of years, the industry has moved at a pretty quick pace,” Oldham said. “When you see someone driving around with a little blue diamond on the back of their car you know they have gotten smarter about their fuel cost.”
Oldham said the largest hurdle facing CNG cars are the misconceptions of safety.
“Natural gas is less volatile than gasoline,” Oldham said. “Safety is not a concern, if installed correctly CNG is safer than natural gas.”
Oldham said the drawbacks of using CNG involve the lack of infrastructure in the State and the country. Currently, Oklahoma has more than 50 fueling stations, including one in Shawnee.
“Oklahoma is leading the country in CNG,” Oldham said. “If you want to drive somewhere in Oklahoma you should be fine, however if you want to take a trip to Kansas you may want to fill up before you leave.”
Oldham said CNG takes up to four times the space of gasoline, cars and truck converted to use CNG will lose some trunk, and bed space. Oldham said that tanks are bulletproof.
Ford and Honda are the only active car companies that produce CNG dedicated vehicles. Most other cars can be converted, including older cars. The price for conversion varies from $9,000 to $15,000, with state and federal tax rebates available for some models.
“We see the most CNG cars in fleets, or with people who burn a lot of fuel,” Oldham said. “If you drive a lot CNG will save you on fuel cost, but if you don’t drive much, it is not yet economical.”
Oldham said rapid advancement CNG technology has lead to home fueling stations. The station hooks directly to a natural gas line in a home and can refuel a CNG car overnight.
“When I am home, I don’t even bother going to the station to fill up. I just plug it in and it fills itself,” Oldham said. “I have been off of gasoline for three years. I can drive from Shawnee to Austin for $15 in my truck.”
“CNG has always been 40 percent cheaper then gasoline,” Oldham said. “Everyone fears that gas will hit between $4 and $5 a gallon, while CNG is expected to remain steady.”
Oklahoma House Speaker Kris Steele said he would like to see Oklahoma lead the nation to energy independence, and that the use of natural gas and coal technology would be the first step.
“We are blessed with an abundance of natural gas in the State,” Steele said. “There is growing momentum to expand on the use of CNG. CNG is so much more affordable, it should be on the forefront of any energy bill in the State.”
“I think we should look for any option that would increase our energy output.” Rep. Josh Cockroft said. “Natural gas is such a readily available resource that we should definitely find a way to use it.”
Oklahoma Natural Gas operates the only CNG refueling site in Shawnee.
“Mileage and performance is equivalent, maintenance cost differs, because CNG burns much cleaner” Don Sherry, spokesman for ONG, said. “We don’t see ourself becoming a major provider of refuel CNG. We hope to see someone else in the private sector get involved."

Jie Ji

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