Natural Gas, Natural Choice

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Tallahassee, FL - This is the sound of filling up your tank with gas, but in a decade’s time it could sound like this.

Compressed natural gas is being pumped into this Leon County school bus. The district built a natural gas station this summer and bought 14 busses to burn the fuel. The move will save money and the environment.

“Every compressed natural gas bus that we have is expected to save 5-thousand dollar a year per bus,” said Chris Petley, spokesman with Leon County Schools.

Leon County is the first school district to make the switch. Now two entrepreneurs from California hope to take Florida the rest of the way. Tuesday, Nopetro, announced plans to open 12 natural gas stations in strategic locations throughout the state with the first half opening by 2014.

“We will not only service the medium and heavy duty trucks transporting our goods, but we will also provide a supply of natural gas to the local population,” said Jorge Herrera, Nopetro CEO.

Nopetro hopes government vehicles sign up first, but their also negotiating with Florida trucking companies. But with just a dozen stations in the works it may be a while before Florida trucking companies are willing to make the switch to natural gas.

Still environmentalists are praising the experiment. They say natural gas could be the transition fuel Florida needs to move from gas to electric.

“Until we can go to all electric cars, or all electric trucks for a true clean economy, natural gas is a good interim product,” said Eric Draper with Audubon of Florida.

And if natural gas works in busses and diesels, in a decade’s time it could be available to all Florida drivers. Another advantage of moving toward natural gas is the domestic supply. The US has more natural gas reserves than any other country.

Right now natural gas stations are planned for Tallahassee, Pensacola, Gainesville, Daytona, Orlando, Tampa, Fort Pierce, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale and Miami.

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  • by watcher Location: nearby on Oct 20, 2010 at 07:43 AM
    No one is telling which vehicles will be fitted for burning natural gas instead of gasoline or diesel. It would be good to see semis on the interstate running on natgas and be cleaner than biodiesel. Is it 25% cheaper because it is still only in pipes and going to homes,businesses and factories? Who will guarantee it will still be cheaper when state and federal tax is added (like motor fuel has now). When the oilcos see a demand they will raise the cost just as they manipulate the supply of gasoline to increase what they charge for it to ensure annual corporate profits in the billions. We can not stop the export of dollars for foreign oil if we can not keep domestically produced oil out of the world market under the control of OPEC.
  • by about time Location: America on Oct 20, 2010 at 07:17 AM
    I'm tired of funding the middle east.
  • by Steve Location: Downtown on Oct 20, 2010 at 05:36 AM
    Makes much better sense than increasing ethenol. We still need conservation. Water from Maine is being trucked to Fla for retail. Water from Fla is being trucked to Virginia for retail. we can all list stupid ways fuel is wasted. We import oil and export cash for that. NatGas is a great alternative right now but if we don;t get smart about how we use any fuel we just aren't fixing anything.
  • by Digital Location: Tallahassee, FL on Oct 20, 2010 at 05:24 AM
    We are finally geting on the right track for our environment and our country. Natural gas powered vehicles pollute a lot less and burn fuel we have in abundance here in the U.S.A. Using natural gas keeps our energy dollars in our country. We are less dependent on foreign suppliers who often use our energy dollars to wage war against us. Using natural gas creates jobs for American workers and is the right solution for the U.S.A.---Three cheers!
  • by bob Location: tlh on Oct 20, 2010 at 03:40 AM
    this is great, we need more
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