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Less Than 10 Bucks to Fill Up A School Bus: Natural Gas Pumps Open in Tallahassee [SLIDE SHOW]

By: Lanetra Bennett; Ron Sachs Release Email
By: Lanetra Bennett; Ron Sachs Release Email

[UPDATE] Tallahassee, FL - September 25, 2012

Local officials say a huge step is being taken that begins independence from foreign oil. That step is the use of natural gas.

Leon County School has a new fleet of buses that use compressed natural gas or CNG. District managers say the buses go to far ends of the district every day - from Fairbanks Ferry, all the way to Jefferson County line and Wakulla County.

They say using them on their longest routes is the most fuel efficient.

School, local, and state officials held the grand opening of the new state-of-the-art compressed natural gas facility.

NoPetro is located on Capital Circle Northwest. The station is part of a planned statewide network that will make CNG a workable cost-saving option for government and commercial fleets as well as individual CNG vehicle owners.

The Leon County School district has 44 new CNG school buses.
Administrators say the cost of natural gas is half the cost of diesel.

School officials say using CNG is cleaner for the environment and beneficial in multiple ways.

Ronnie Youngblood, Leon County Schools says, "Discipline on our buses has gone down because it's a quiter ride, more comfortable for the kids--kids who have asthma, kids who have those medical issues. We don't have the diesel fuel. So, the overall impact of what we're doing not only for the environment, but, financially and for the health of our kids."

Youngblood also stated that Leon County Schools will save about $7,000 a year per bus by using natural gas, and that the savings will go back to the classrooms.

The inside of the buses are also all the rage - they have taller seats that are closer together designed to be safer for kids, more cameras, and drivers say the buses ride smooth as a Cadillac.
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Florida's top energy officer says natural gas is a game changer for the Sunshine State. The game has now changed in the Leon County School District. Usually when you go to the pumps, you end up paying more than you'd like.

But, the Leon County School District is shelling out less than ten bucks to fill up a school bus.

That's because they're using compressed natural gas, or CNG. The new CNG facility is now opened here on Capital Circle Northwest.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Leon County Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons, and local and state leaders celebrated the grand opening of the new state-of-the-art CNG facility.

The company NoPetro is hailed for using clean energy. Leaders say for the first time, this facility offers Florida and the Southeast the prospect of a viable natural gas solution on a grand scale.

School officials say not only is using the natural gas good for the environment, it also saves the district money.

Leon County Schools has 44 of the natural gas buses. Leaders say that will save the district about $7,000 per bus; and they say majority of the money goes back into the classrooms.

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Tallahassee, FL - September 25, 2012

Florida’s top energy official, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, today hailed the opening of Nopetro’s state-of-the-art compressed natural gas (CNG) facility, which for the first time offers Florida and the Southeast the prospect of a viable natural gas solution on a grand scale. The station is part of a planned statewide network that will make CNG a workable cost-saving option for government and commercial fleets as well as individual CNG vehicle owners.

When Nopetro’s first-of-its-kind network of stations is completed, Putnam said, the private fleets of heavy freight vehicles that move Florida’s consumer goods will have a practical way to traverse the state on CNG. This will produce tremendous cost savings, which will benefit consumers and in turn fuel Florida’s economy, he added. As individual stations are built, Putnam said, local schools and governments will be able to enjoy significant cost savings that will benefit the taxpayers.

Putnam praised Nopetro and Leon County Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons for forging the partnership to produce substantial cost savings for the school district while setting a positive, environmentally friendly example for students.

“This partnership is exactly what our Legislature had in mind when it established natural gas as a key component of the state’s transportation policies,” Putnam said. “A network of natural gas fueling stations in major cities across our state will encourage commercial fleets and individual consumers to make the move into Florida’s energy future.”

The Tallahassee facility – the largest and most expansive CNG fueling operation on the East Coast of the United States – is the product of an innovative partnership between the public and private sectors to find a more affordable alternative fuel source for the Leon County School District. At Pons’ direction, the school district is transforming its entire fleet of diesel-powered school buses and other vehicles to CNG. Other consumers, including the City of Tallahassee and private users, may also fuel their CNG vehicles at the station, with part of the proceeds benefiting the school district thanks to the partnership with Nopetro.

“This is truly a day worth celebrating – a big step forward in Florida’s journey toward independence from expensive foreign fuels,” said Jorge Herrera, co-founder and CEO of Nopetro, which has offices in Tallahassee and Miami. “Nopetro epitomizes the American dream of hard work producing results, and we are proud to be leading the way both here in Tallahassee and across Florida and the Southeast.”Also participating in the grand opening event were state Sen. Bill Montford, CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents; and Leticia Adams, energy policy director for the Florida Chamber of Commerce. During the event, Nopetro identified 18 additional cities it is targeting for the network of CNG fueling stations over the next three years, including (alphabetically) Daytona Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Pierce, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Key Largo, Miami, Ocala, Orlando, Pensacola, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Tampa and West Palm Beach in Florida, and Atlanta, Macon and Savannah in Georgia.

Public entities in Tallahassee have moved enthusiastically toward CNG. The Leon County School District has already purchased 44 CNG-based school buses and Pons has committed to eventually using CNG for the district’s entire 206-bus fleet. Separately, the City of Tallahassee has purchased eight sanitation vehicles that will be powered by CNG from the Nopetro station. Leon County government, Florida State University and others have also begun acquiring CNG vehicles, all of which can refuel at the Nopetro facility.

“CNG vehicles are absolutely the way to go for Leon County Schools,” Superintendent Pons said. “In addition to saving money that can be directed back into our educational programs, they set an outstanding example for kids by showing how everyone can play a role in protecting our planet’s resources.”

Nopetro’s Tallahassee facility and those that follow will make it possible for Florida's heavy truck traffic, local government vehicles and school buses to convert to natural gas, a fuel source that is domestically abundant, at least 25 percent cheaper and 33 percent cleaner than diesel fuel. One week ago, on Monday, September 17, the nationwide average price of gasoline was 37 percent more expensive than natural gas and diesel was 46 percent more expensive, according to the “Clean Cities Alterative Fuel Price Report" issued by the U.S. Department of Energy.

CNG is widely recognized as an ideal fuel alternative to gasoline and diesel. In addition to the fact that it is substantially cheaper and cleaner than petroleum-based fuels, the United States has one of the largest supplies of natural gas in the world.

Natural gas is a key component of Florida’s new freight mobility policy adopted by the Legislature in HB 599 and currently being implemented by the Florida Department of Transportation. The legislation requires the department to create a Freight Mobility and Trade Plan, and among the four goals of the plan must be “Increasing the implementation of compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), and propane energy policies that reduce transportation costs for businesses and residents located in the state.”

For a downloadable picture of the new Nopetro station, go to www.nopetro.com.

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Additional praise for the Nopetro facility and public-private partnership:

MARK WILSON, President and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce: “With a viable network of CNG fueling stations across our state, Florida businesses can fully embrace the cost-saving potential of natural gas. In the end, that will be good for Florida’s consumers. Our state and our nation will benefit when we can tap more diverse energy sources as Florida strives to meet future energy needs.”

SEN. BILL MONTFORD, CEO of the Florida Association of District School Superintendents: “Superintendents around Florida are watching this partnership with great interest and enthusiasm. The model established by Nopetro and Superintendent Pons can lead to tremendous cost savings for school districts across our state, and that will mean more resources for classrooms. I congratulate Nopetro and Leon County Schools for their visionary leadership.”

BRYAN DESLOGE, Leon County Commissioner and president of the Florida Association of Counties: “County governments throughout Florida are struggling with limited budgets, and we’re always looking for effective ways to reduce costs. Many of us have recognized CNG as one answer for the future, and these plans for a network of stations throughout Florida make it clear that future is now.”

MANNY MAROÑO, Mayor of Sweetwater and President of the Florida League of Cities: “Natural gas can save money for Florida’s cities while helping the environment, and the start of this statewide network is an exciting development. City governments work every day to get the most out of taxpayer resources, and we applaud a public-private partnership that saves money and helps the local environment.”

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Tallahassee, FL - September 25, 2012

The grand opening of the Nopetro station marks the first link in a chain leading to the first viable network of compressed natural gas fueling stations on the East Coast of the United States.

Nopetro’s plans call for construction of stations in at least 18 additional markets in Florida and Georgia, leading the way to a much broader network that currently does not exist outside of California. This network of stations will allow local governments to switch to CNG and save as much as 25 percent on their fuel costs. At the same time, the business sector will know it can move commodities on the state’s highways assured that a CNG station will be available when needed. Since America has an abundant supply of natural gas, this network will help lead the way to true energy independence.

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Tallahassee, FL - September 24, 2012

Tomorrow, September 25, 2012, Nopetro and Leon County Schools will celebrate the grand opening of Nopetro’s first Florida natural gas fueling station, part of a planned network of stations across the state.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the state’s top energy official, will speak at the event, reflecting the significance of Nopetro’s plans to build a network of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations across Florida. Other speakers will include state Senator Bill Montford, Leon County Schools Superintendent Jackie Pons, Nopetro CEO Jorge Herrera and Leticia Adams, energy policy director for the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

CNG is widely recognized as an ideal fuel alternative to gasoline and diesel. It is substantially cheaper and cleaner than petroleum-based fuels, and the United States has one of the largest supplies of natural gas in the world. CNG is also a key component of Florida’s new freight mobility policy.

Nopetro’s Leon County facility is the product of a partnership between the public and private sectors to find a more affordable alternative fuel source for the county’s fleet of diesel-powered school buses and other vehicles. As a result of the partnership with Nopetro, the district fleet is shifting to CNG fuel, and other fleets and individuals – including other governments as well as private users – may fuel their vehicles at the station. Leon County Schools will receive a portion of all sales to non-school district vehicles thanks to the innovative partnership with Nopetro.

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WHAT: Grand Opening of Nopetro/Leon County Schools compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station

WHEN: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

9:30 a.m.

WHERE: 440 Capital Circle Northwest, Tallahassee, FL 32304

(immediately north of intersection of Capital Circle NW and Pensacola St.)

WHO: Adam Putnam, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture & Consumer Services

Jackie Pons, Leon County Schools Superintendent

Sen. Bill Montford, CEO, Florida Association of District School Superintendents

Leticia Adams, energy policy director, Florida Chamber of Commerce

Jorge Herrera, CEO, Nopetro


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