Photo courtesy of Marathon Corportation

Photo courtesy of Marathon Corportation

The City of Columbus, Ohio, dedicated its second compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station on July 15, which will make CNG fuel available for the public as well as fleet vehicles in the north side of the city within two weeks. City officials estimate CNG fuel is $1.50 to $2 cheaper per gallon than diesel fuel.

According to Mayor Michael Coleman, the station will service the northern refuse fleet operation, the transportation division, the Department of Public Utilities, and other city divisions in addition to the general public. The fuel is priced at $1.90 per gasoline gallon equivalent for city fleet vehicles and $2.18 for private fleets and the public. The markup on these fuel prices will be used to pay back the cost of the $5.7 million station across several years.

In April 2012, Columbus opened its first CNG fueling station on the east side. Since then, nearly 500,000 gallons of CNG have been pumped, which the city says has resulted in savings of $600,000 when compared to the cost of diesel fuel. About 40% of the fuel pumped has been sold for private vehicles and 60% for city vehicles. With the addition of this second station, the City of Columbus is now the largest provider of stations open to the public throughout the Midwest.

By 2020, the City of Columbus will have 440 CNG vehicles in its fleet, which is estimated to save approximately $1.9 million per year in fuel costs and reduce greenhouse gases by nearly 10,000 tons, which is equal to taking over 2,000 cars off the road annually.

The push toward CNG is largely driven by the fleet department. Fleet Administrator Kelly Reagan and Fleet Manager Bill Burns have been working with developers, architects, and consultants on fueling station construction.

A third station has been targeted for the west side of Columbus, and a fourth station is being planned downtown, Coleman said.

Coleman, Councilmember Priscilla Tyson, and Emmanuel Remy, president of the Northland Community Council, were at the dedication ceremony on July 15.