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Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton; Deputy Secretary for Oklahoma's The Office of the Secretary of Energy & Environment Craig Sundstrom; and Pontotoc Mayor Jeff Stafford (pictured left-right) shared their perspectives about the benefits of growing the natural gas vehicle market in Mississippi.

Natural Gas Vehicle Proponents Appear Before
MS Senate Energy Committee

Proponents for increasing the number of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) on Mississippi roads appeared before the Senate Energy Committee to discuss the benefits of using alternative fuels in the transportation industry.

Rich Kolodziej, former president of NGV America, said that states whose energy plans have a three-pronged approach have seen faster growth in the number of NGVs and fueling infrastructure for compressed natural gas (CNG). “NGV market penetration increases when states provide financial and regulatory incentives and act as a market participant. Incentives range from grant programs, to supporting the gallon gas equivalent standard of measurement, to giving priority to NGV purchases on state contracts.”

Oklahoma’s Deputy Secretary of Energy Craig Sundstrom shared that his state ranks first in the nation in the number of public CNG fueling stations per capita, with 102 stations. “Like Mississippi, Oklahoma has an abundance of natural gas resources. In developing Oklahoma’s energy plan, we looked for ways to grow the market for natural gas, reduce our reliance on foreign oil, and improve the state’s air emissions.” Sundstrom also discussed ways to pragmatically tie jobs growth with economic development of NGV infrastructure and vehicles.

Pontotoc Mayor Jeff Stafford and Quitman Mayor Eddie Fulton also shared how investing in the NGV market can serve as an economic development tool for more rural areas of Mississippi. Fulton said, “Offering incentives for entities that have NGVs in their fleets, such as school buses or patrol cars, will not only lead to lower transportation costs, but allow for those savings to be reinvested in Mississippi’s economy.”

Kent Meadows with NGV Solutions, a Mississippi-based company that provides turnkey solutions for CNG, wrapped up the energy committee meeting by discussing the benefits of using CNG as a fuel. “The environmental and economical savings are tremendous - cleaner engine emissions, longer vehicle life cycle and fuel costs that are roughly half that of gasoline or diesel.”

Meadows added that in appearing before the Senate Energy Committee, their goal was to provide information about the economic potential in the NGV and CNG markets in Mississippi.

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CNG Sales at Flowood’s NGV Solutions Reflect National Trend

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The number of vehicles fueled by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is expected to rise in the U.S. as more logistics and service firms look to realize cost savings by switching to alternative fuels. Cleantech think-tank Navigant Research estimates that yearly light duty natural gas vehicle sales will grow over the next decade from 2.3 million vehicles this year to nearly 3.8 million.

That growth trend is reflected in the sales volume increase at NGV Solutions’ CNG fueling station in Flowood. CNG year-to-date sales at the Lakeland Drive business are up almost 50 percent over the same period in 2013, while August alone saw an increase of almost 40 percent.

“We recently added a fourth CNG storage sphere to handle the demand,” said Kent Meadows, vice president of NGV Solutions. “Having an additional 80 gallons of CNG stored on site allows us to provide faster refuel times for our customers, something that all drivers appreciate.”

Meadows added that drivers also appreciate the lower fueling costs for natural gas vehicles. “When we opened our Flowood fueling station in December 2011, we sold CNG for $1.99 a gallon, and now, it’s still $1.99 a gallon. We’ve never had a cost increase, and we’re coming up on three years.”

Analysts predict big things in the future. The National Petroleum Council estimates that if diesel prices increase at current rates, 40 percent of all new heavy trucks in the U.S. will run on natural gas by 2045, but that number could arrive early as 2025 if diesel prices jump faster than expected. Meadows said NGV Solutions will continue to expand its CNG fuel storage facilities as the market grows.

What’s an NGV?

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The acronym NGV stands for natural gas vehicle, which is a vehicle that uses compressed natural gas (CNG) as a clean alternative to other fuels. Vehicles that use CNG run more quietly, and fuel costs are typically $1.50 to $2.00 a gallon cheaper that gasoline or diesel. NGVs meet the strictest federal and state emission standards.

There are:

  • 153,000 NGVs on U.S. roads
  • 15.2 million NGVs worldwide
  • Approximately 1,564 CNG fueling stations in the U.S.
  • 50 manufacturers making 100 NGV models

Gasoline-powered vehicles can be converted to run on CNG, making them a dual fuel vehicle. With the touch of a button, engines can run on CNG or traditional fuel. Additionally, a growing number of vehicles, like the Chevy Cruze and Honda Civic, are now being manufactured as NGVs that run on CNG.

Are you interested in converting your car or truck to a natural gas vehicle that runs on CNG? NGV Solutions installs CNG conversion kits on vehicles. The equipment we sell and service has been specifically engineered for a wide range of CNG/NGV applications, and we work with all segments of the market: private fleets, residential customers and public/private refueling stations.

For more information, contact Kent Meadows at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Ridgeland Adds CNG-fueled Vehicles to Public Works Fleet

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The city of Ridgeland has long has a reputation for being environmentally friendly, implementing a management plan to ensure stewardship of the environment and natural resources that can be enjoyed now and by future generations.

Utilizing alternative fuels in its fleet is one way the city is continuing its environmental management efforts. Mayor Gene McGee said, “We look at programs that are not only environmentally friendly, but also make sense for the city and help improve our residents’ quality of life.”

The city recently added compressed natural gas (CNG) fueled vehicles to its public works fleet. CNG is a cleaner burning fuel that reduces tail pipe emissions and extends the life of an engine. It also does not contain impurities such as sulfur or lead.

Public Works Director Mike McCollum said Ridgeland now has two CNG-fueled Ford F-550 trucks with plans to convert an F-150 next year. “The environmental benefits combined with fuel cost savings led to our decision to begin using alternative fuel vehicles,” said McGee.

“We looked at converting other vehicles like the Mayor’s, but didn’t find it economically feasible,” said McCollum. “Unless you’re putting 15 to 20 thousand miles on a vehicle annually, then it’s unlikely you’ll recoup the conversion costs.”

McCollum said that the CNG-fueled trucks see daily use by city work crews. “These trucks are used for everything from infrastructure repairs to road maintenance to landscaping. “Knowing that their engine emissions are less and we’re saving on fuel costs – well that’s great news for Ridgeland” said McGee.

The city utilized a Mississippi company, NGV Solutions, to install the vehicle conversion kits. Kent Meadows, vice president of NGV Solutions, said the company is dedicated to working with Mississippi cities and agencies to provide CNG technology and fuel savings. “The folks in Ridgeland are very knowledgeable about the benefits of using CNG fuels and technology,” said Meadows. “CNG is the cleanest fuel being used today. Hopefully, other cities will follow suit and begin adding green technology to their vehicle fleets.”

McCollum said future plans for Ridgeland could include installing a slow-fill CNG fueling station, if demand or usage makes it economically feasible.

Zero Percent Interest -

Mississippi Alternative Fuel Revolving Loan Fund

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In 2013, Mississippi lawmakers enacted House Bill 1685, which created the “Mississippi Alternative Fuel School Bus and Municipal Motor Vehicle Revolving Loan Fund” in the state treasury, and issued $2.75 million in bonds to finance the fund.

Loans made through this fund are at zero percent interest.

The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) administers the program, which is designed to assist municipalities and public schools in paying the cost of purchasing alternative fuel vehicles. The revolving loan fund may also be used to convert existing vehicles and school buses to run on alternative fuels and for alternative fuel system equipment and facilities.

Under this program, “alternative fuels” are considered compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and propane fuel when used as fuel in a motor vehicle.

Municipalities or schools applying for funds simply submit an application to the MDA (download the application here) that includes a description of the purpose and amount of the requested loan. Entities repay the loan at zero percent interest, which, for many municipalities, provides a monetarily efficient way to supplement their budget and invest in natural gas vehicle technology.

Loans are issued on a qualified first come, first serve basis, until the annual allocation of $2.75 million is exhausted. The maximum loan amount for vehicle purchases and retrofits is $300,000 with a seven-year term. The maximum loan amount for refueling infrastructure purchases is $500,000 with a 15-year term.

Click here for more information about this program or contact the MDA’s Energy Division at 601–359–6653.

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