The City of Columbia, Mo., hosted a dedication and grant opening event for its compressed natural gas (CNG) station today. City officials held the event with Clean Energy, which constructed the station.

The station will provide CNG to public and private fleets as well as the general public. Initially, two CNG dispensers will be used for city fleet vehicles, and one public dispenser will be available for public use. Depending on demand, another public dispenser can be added.

The city has recently taken delivery of several CNG-fueled vehicles, which the city plans to place in service when the station opens today. The departments of Public Works, Light & Water, and Parks & Recreation will be using CNG vehicles.

As noted in a city manager memo to City Council, staff expects the lower cost per gallon of CNG to offset higher vehicle costs within four to five years for vehicles that cost $10,000 to $40,000 more for the CNG version. Staff also cited that CNG vehicles require less maintenance than diesel-powered vehicles.