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Compressed natural gas for motor fuel has benefits


WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) - Compressed natural gas is getting more popular as a motor fuel. The Wausau metro area’s first CNG fueling station is now open at Rib Mountain Travel Center, the BP truck stop off I-39 exit 188. Its developer, Trillium CNG hosted a tour of the new facility yesterday.

The price of compressed natural gas is barely over two-dollars a gallon, or almost half of the cost of gasoline and less than half of a gallon of diesel fuel. Cars, pickups, and tractor trailer rigs can all run on this fuel if they are converted to use this fuel.

Trillium Vice President Charles Koontz says potential users need to do the math. CNG conversions can be expensive, so you need to make sure it fits your application.  "This doesn't make as much sense if you're only using two or three hundred gallons a year in your small car.  It makes a lot more sense for folks who are using vehicles in a work application.  If someone's got their F-150 or F-250 (Ford pickup) as a contractor, they're going to run a thousand, two thousand gallons a year, so that two dollars a gallon savings starts to make a real impact on their bottom line."

One central Wisconsin businessman that already has experience with CNG in his work fleet is Bob Kulp of Stratford. He says the initial cost is more, but you get that investment back over time.  "A pickup for instance will pay itself back in about seventy-five thousand miles if you're putting a full blown version in.  If you're doing it a little bit less expensively with some options that would be available, you'd be looking at thirty to forty thousand miles for payback."

Kulp says the cost of compressed natural gas has definitely helped his business, so he built his own fueling station in Stratford.

Trillium CNG President Mary Boettcher says their company is developing compressed natural gas filling stations all over the country.  "We are looking across the midwest at heavy truck traffic corridors.  In Wisconsin here, we're scoping out some additional locations...Neenah, here in Wausau, we have one in DePere, we're looking at Racine and some other locations as well."

CNG fuel stations utilize gas delivered by pipeline, from the same utilities that bring gas to your home and business, which cuts delivery cost. There are also home appliances that allow you to fill your vehicle in your own garage.

Koontz says CNG pays the same fuel taxes to the government as other fuels.

Trillium CNG's website is:  www.TrilliumCNG.com