Natural gas filling stations increasing in Utah

Questar’s network of 25 natural gas fueling stations in Utah is about to grow to 41 using nearly $15 million in federal stimulus funding. The money will also pay for an upgrade in compression at the existing public access compressed natural gas (CNG) outlets. These improvements will provide motorists more places to fill up, plus faster refills. One of the outlets is in Logan, at the LW’s Travel Plaza. “We’ve operated it about 20 years here in our Logan facility,” said General Manager Brent Miller, “and for just about a year in our Perry facility outside of Brigham City.” Miller said Questar maintains the equipment. “We get a ‘through put fee’ to be a distributor for them,” he said. It’s not surprising in today’s economy that more motorists are opting for cars powered by natural gas. Miller said the two LW’s Plazas are pumping about 10,000 gallons a month, each. Motorists pay only about 97 cents a gallon. Miller said Questar is careful about determining where the new CNG outlets will be located. “They’ve told us in the past they try to spread them out to where they are geographically beneficial for their customers,” Miller said. “In other words, they don’t want two right next to each other when the next one might be 50-60 miles away. They’re trying to spread them out in strategic locations so that people that own these vehicles have the convenience of finding a fueling station.” Miles per gallon numbers for natural gas vehicles are about the same as ones burning regular gasoline. “The advantage is it burns cleaner,” Miller said, “and you can go longer between oil changes because of that. Of course the number one advantage is the price per gallon. “The disadvantage involves the size of the tank. Because it is a gas and not a liquid, if your car has a 10-gallon tank it won’t hold as much fuel so you’ll have to fill up more often.” Miller believes building more natural gas fueling stations is a trend that will continue. “Especially with the instability in crude oil and the way the gasoline market is,” he said. “The economy forces everybody to look for a cheaper alternative for everything.”

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