Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Fueling plans may finally spur natural-gas vehicle growth
Energy » Effort would vastly increase number of stations.

< Previous Page

C.R. England, a major refrigerated carrier, recently started using five liquid natural gas-fired tractors for its rigs in Southern California. The company has about 4,000 diesel tractors, said Tracy Brown, a company operating director. He said the region was chosen because of the ready availability of dedicated Clean Energy refueling depots. The rigs are being used in the Los Angeles region and on a route to and from Las Vegas, Brown said.

Although he would not reveal what the Salt Lake City-based trucking company paid for the liquid natural gas tractors, he said fuel cost savings could lead to overall savings within a year or two. Depending on diesel prices, the company saves $1.50 to $2 per gallon equivalent on liquid natural gas, he said. At the same time, fuel usage is about the same in equivalent diesel gallons.

At a glance

Compressed natural gas in Utah

For decades, Questar Corp. has promoted the use of compressed natural gas for passenger vehicles as an abundant and clean-burning alternative to gasoline.

The result is that Utah has one of the best networks of CNG refueling stations in the country.

There are 33 CNG stations in Utah, with the newest recently opened in Kaysville. Weber State University will follow suit next month.

Most stations are owned by Questar Gas and are at retail gasoline outlets throughout the state. The state of Utah owns five stations that are open to the public, and there also are a couple of privately owned stations.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"They are much cleaner, they are much quieter," Brown said of the new tractors. "We haven’t noticed any power reduction from the diesel engines. We’re very pleased with these."

As Clean Energy expands its network of public refueling, "it will be more advantageous to have natural gas vehicles on the road," Brown said.

Honda Motor Co. is expanding sales of its Civic NG. The NG carries a basic sticker price of $26,155, while its gasoline counterpart, the Civic LX, lists at $20,505.

Until this model year, the GX had only been offered as a private vehicle in dealerships in California, Oklahoma, Utah and New York. Sales will be expanded for the next model year to 37 states, mostly to dealers within 20 miles of a public fueling station, said Honda spokeswoman Jessica Fini. For the first time, the car will be advertised nationally and will offer a navigation system and an upgraded audio system.

"We think we are expanding the car at the right time with the expansion in public infrastructure," she said.

Honda’s goal is to boost sales from about 1,000 cars annually to about 2,000, Fini added — still a tiny fraction of the 259,000 gasoline-powered Civics that Honda sold in 2010.

Gene Paulsen, an aerospace engineer from Gilbert, Ariz., and his wife are on their second GX. They bought their first one in 2000, when the state offered tax credits for choosing the natural gas version of the Civic. They sold it earlier this year to a California woman.

He said his wife now commutes in a used GX he bought in 2009. They mostly refuel from a costly home refueling appliance, and have added a second fuel tank to drive longer distances.

story continues below
story continues below

"It works really well for us," he said. "But the fueling infrastructure isn’t very good in Arizona. Until you add more fuel capacity to the thing, you’re kind of stuck."

Paulsen said fuel for the GX costs about $1.50 per gallon equivalent, calculating the draw on his home’s gas system, the cost of periodically maintaining his $10,000 refueling pump and the power cost for running the pressure pump to fuel the car.

"We wouldn’t have done this if it was our only vehicle," Paulsen said.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.