Natural gas fueling station opens in East Franklin
County oil and gas producer is keeping pace with a growing trend in the alternative fuel industry with its recent opening of a compressed natural gas fueling station at 90 Glade Drive in East Franklin.
“This is a new thing,” said John Rupp, project manager for Snyder Brothers of East Franklin. “We’re open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Most of the customers fueling up at the station are part of commercial fleets run by companies in the oil and gas business. Only a handful of privately owned vehicles that run on natural gas make regular stops, Rupp said. Compressed natural gas sells for about $1 less per gallon than a gasoline equivalent.
But it can be expensive to make the switch.
Converting cars to run on natural gas requires approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and should only be performed by a certified technician.
The cost of converting a conventional light-duty vehicle costs between $4,000 and $12,000, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. Grants are available for businesses or municipalities that want to make the conversion.
Stan Berdell, president of BLX, a Kittanning gas drilling company, said he received a state grant to convert three trucks in his fleet. The grant covered 49 percent of the cost and came out to about $4,900 per vehicle.
“We’re very pleased with the performance of our vehicles,” Berdell said. “It’s also nice to use a natural resource from around here.”
He noted that there’s less worry about running out of fuel while operating the vehicle because it can run on gasoline if there isn’t a natural gas fueling station available.
“It’s a real nice system,” he said.
The station was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority, Rupp said.
Of the 845 public CNG stations in the country, 34 are scattered throughout Pennsylvania, according to the government’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Within the past few years, stations have opened in Dayton, Slate Lick, Brookville, Punxsutawney and Pittsburgh. School buses operated by Valley Lines in South Buffalo use CNG buses to transport students to the Freeport Area School District.
“It’s definitely a growing trend,” said Kevin Barrett, owner of the CNG fueling station at White Oak Farms in Dayton. “It’s cost effective and becoming very popular across the country.”
The natural gas which fuels the station on Glade Drive draws from a pipeline fed by numerous wells operated in the area by Snyder Brothers. Natural gas burns cleaner — with fewer emissions — than traditional gasoline, Rupp said.
“The only downside is you may lose a little bit of horsepower, but it’s not noticeable,” he said. “Miles per gallon are about the same.”
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.