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Friday, March 2, 2012

Got gas? Buckhead millionaires will pay you handsomely

Actually, make that compressed natural gas, or CNG. The Buckhead Coalition is now offering a $10,000 incentive grant to whomsoever installs the first CNG fueling station in the fancy part of town.

Now, we don't know of many rich folks driving Range Rovers or Maseratis that run on natural gas, but this seems like a step in the right direction. From the Coalition's press release:

Atlanta Gas Light has initiated a statewide CNG Infrastructure Program which will provide $11.57 million from the Universal Service Fund to assist in the development of CNG stations. “The Buckhead Coalition’s grant, like the AGL Resources CNG initiatives, supports a common goal of advancing the development of a CNG infrastructure. The advancement of the natural gas vehicle market is beneficial as it promotes the use of a fuel that is domestically abundant, environmentally friendly and economically affordable”, adds Ian Skelton, director of Atlanta Gas Light’s natural gas vehicle program.

I must admit to being a mite surprised to learn that Buckhead didn't already have a CNG fueling station, since I see the logo on MARTA buses all the time. I was even more surprised to learn, upon doing a little more research, that there's only one CNG fueling station in the entire city that's available for use by the public — although there are a handful in nearby suburbs.

Most of these are stations owned by UFO (which I just learned stands for Unattended Fuel Outlet), for which customers — mostly truckers and other drivers of commercial vehicles — must use a special card to operate the pump. The Atlanta station is on Whitehall Street in Castleberry Hills, while the suburban locations include Sylvan Road in East Point; Tucker Industrial Road in Stone Mountain; and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in College Park.

So, why is CNG such a desirable fuel? According to our hometown transit agency:

MARTA’s state-of-the-art Compressed Natural Gas bus fleet saves 7,000,000 (7 million) gallons of equivalent petroleum each year. Due to lower carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides emissions, CNG buses help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

UPDATE: And here's an FYI just sent in from our friends at AGL Resources, parent company of Atlanta Gas Light:

In November, the Georgia Public Service Commission actually approved a five year program of investments that could total $11.57 million for new CNG fueling station infrastructure. The program is intended to create a network of CNG fueling stations throughout metro Atlanta and in other cities served by AGL throughout the state along major transportation corridors. AGL will provide CNG delivery service under a new commission-approved rate to retail station owners.

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