By Jeff Toquinto on September 24, 2013
It’s not the first compressed natural gas fueling station ever to open in the state of West Virginia. But officials say it’s the first since the mid-1990s.
Today, with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on hand, the ribbon was cut on the first natural gas fueling station in at least a decade right here in Bridgeport. The new station is located at the Charles Pointe Exxon on the Run station, just off of State Route 279 and just minutes off of Interstate 79. One official on hand called it a “transportation transformation.”
Although the new station that is one of three scheduled to open in West Virginia was announced in January, today marked the first of the announced stations to be operational. Future natural gas stations are planned to be opening in Charleston and Jane Lew.
“When finished a person will be able to drive from Charleston, West Virginia to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and back entirely on compressed natural gas,” said T.J. Meadows with IGS Energy.
IGS Energy, along with CNG Services, teamed up several other partner companies including Antero Resources, Chesapeake Energy, and EQT Corporation. Dominion Hope was also involved in the installation of the fueling station here in Bridgeport.
Officials said the cost for a gallon of compressed natural gas was at $2.19 today. They compared that to state prices for regular gasoline that was in the range of $3.40 per gallon. Because of the costs savings, gas officials that spoke today, along with Tomblin, are hoping that more business fleets as well as the state’s motorists will considering switching over to natural gas fueled vehicles.
“Now, our natural gas industry will play a major role in supplying our transportation needs by supplying compressed natural gas for our cars and trucks,” said Tomblin. “Motorists who fuel up at this IGS Energy Compressed Natural Gas fueling station will access abundant clean burning West Virginia fuel and save money at the pump.”
Tomblin said the state is backing the use of natural gas and is putting its money – or vehicles – where its mouth is. According to Tomblin, 20 Division of Highways cars and trucks are natural gas vehicles. He said there will soon be more in the state’s fleet.
“I truly believe this is only the beginning,” the governor said.
Along with Tomblin and various officials from the natural gas companies involved addressing the large gathering, Bridgeport Mayor Mario Blount, Harrison County Commissioner Mike Romano and Kathy Wagner of the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce had remarks. Also in attendance was Jamie Corton of Genesis Partners, the developers of Charles Pointe. He was pleased to have the new business as part of the sprawling development along the interstate.
“This is great to see something of this nature, representing the energy sector, coming here. It shows we’re behind that sector 100 percent,” Corton said.
The Jane Lew station will be located at the Lewis County Industrial Park, which is off of exit 105 of I-79, and is expected to be open in late December. The Charleston station will be located on Westmoreland Drive, which is off of exit 102 from Interstate 77 at the Bigley Foodland. The anticipated opening of that station is mid-November.
Officials said the fueling time for natural gas vehicles is roughly the same as gasoline powered vehicles. Tax credits are also available to those eligible when converting vehicles to operate on natural gas.