Weatherford Democrat

Local News

July 27, 2012

Natural gas fueling station comes to Weatherford

WEATHERFORD — In what one company hopes will become a growing trend, a fueling station for natural gas powered vehicles is expected to soon open in Weatherford.

Located southwest of the Pilot Travel Center on Old Dennis Road south of Interstate 20, construction for the Clean Energy station is nearly complete.

Many of the larger trucking companies are moving toward natural-gas-powered vehicles, Matt Elder, general manager of the Weatherford Pilot Travel Center, said.

His company is expanding into the market, hoping to stay ahead of the curve, by buying bulk natural gas for truckers, he said.

His understanding is that the price of natural gas is similar to that of diesel, Elder said.

According to information from the U.S. Department of Energy, using natural gas as fuel has advantages of 60 to 90 percent less smog-producing pollutants and 30 to 40 percent less greenhouse emissions. Nearly 87 percent of U.S. natural gas is domestically produced, as well.

Natural gas is less expensive than gasoline but also provides fewer miles per tank of fuel, according to the Department of Energy.

The government’s alternative fueling station locator shows the nearest compressed natural gas station to Weatherford located in Fort Worth, off of I-35 West.

Similar Clean Energy stations are being built in Fort Worth and Dallas, as well, according to Elder, who said it’s his understanding that they are being built in the more densely populated areas right now.

Pilot was one of the first to carry diesel exhaust fluid, he said, adding they try to stay ahead of the game with new technology.

They started construction on the site about three months ago and hope to have it complete in about a month, according to Elder.

The station will be unmanned, where those using the technology will be able to fill up, Elder said.

Drivers using the technology will be trained on how to put it in the truck, which include attaching a sealed nozzle to transfer the natural gas, he said.

The large cylinder next to the station is for gas capacity, he said.

“Pilot Flying J is the clear leader in the truck stop and travel center industry. They have the best team and the best stations, and we are eager to begin our partnership with them. This is the critical link for Clean Energy to be able to roll out natural gas truck fueling services across the nation,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, Clean Energy president and CEO in a press release in 2010, when the company signed an agreement with Pilot to build, own and operate public access, compressed and liquified natural gas fueling stations at Pilot travel centers across the U.S.

“With the availability of new, class-8, 2010 EPA-compliant natural gas trucks from several major manufacturers, major regional and national trucking operators are considering the move to natural gas for their fleets to add fuel diversity, lower emissions and reduce dependence on imported oil,” Littlefair said. “Partnering with Pilot Flying J will not only allow us to help meet the demand from these fleets, but will also enable us to begin creating a nationwide goods movement corridor for natural gas trucks.”

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