<p>City of Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman (speaking) celebrated the opening of the City's first CNG station with Councilmember Priscilla Tyson (center) and fleet administrator Kelly Reagan (right).</p>

COLUMBUS, OHIO – The City of Columbus on April 17 celebrated the opening of its first compressed natural gas (CNG) station, the largest fast-fill station of its kind in Ohio and likely in the Midwest. Mayor Michael Coleman, Councilmember Priscilla Tyson, representatives of Clean Fuels Ohio, the City of Dublin, and the U.S. Department of Energy were present to mark the opening of the station.

Columbus expects to save approximately $80,000 per year in fuel costs from this station, according to a release from the City. CNG is averaging $1.80 per gasoline gallon equivalent compared with $4.05 per gallon of diesel. In addition, CNG reduces carbon emissions by as much as 90 percent. The City expects the initial infusion of 24 CNG vehicles to reduce emissions as much as if 96 cars were taken off the road annually.

Clean Fuels Ohio grant, received from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 2009, helped fund the $4.2 million station -- $1.1 million came from the DOE. The station is for use by the City of Columbus fleet, but it will also be open to area fleets and the general public.

“This is more than just a fueling station,” Mayor Coleman said. “This marks our transition to a diversified and cleaner fuel for our community.”

Columbus has been a long-time leader in greening its fleet, voted the No. 1 Government Green Fleet in 2011 and repeatedly recognized by many organizations for its efforts. As part of Mayor Coleman’s Get Green Columbus initiative, Columbus has a comprehensive Green Fleet Action Plan that lays out specific strategies to reduce petroleum use and increase use of cleaner fuels such as electric, E-85, biodiesel, and CNG.