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Piedmont Natural Gas reports strong growth in CNG use by trucks

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Piedmont Natural Gas said it is experiencing tremendous growth in demand for compressed natural gas (CNG) from commercial vehicle fleets and highlighted several initiatives that will give more companies greater access to the cleaner, lower cost fuel option.

In the Charlotte region, Piedmont has contracted with the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services to install a CNG station for refuse trucks at their existing facility near uptown.

In addition, Piedmont’s eleventh public CNG refuelling station has started construction and is expected to open later this year at a location near the junction of Interstate 40 and US 321 in Hickory.

Earlier this year, Piedmont received approval from state regulators in North Carolina and South Carolina to temporarily reduce the price of CNG by US$0.50 per gasoline-gallon equivalent – passing through to customers a federal tax credit intended to expand the environmental benefits of CNG by encouraging the construction of CNG refuelling stations.

Piedmont also passed the savings from the tax credit along to customers in Tennessee, where public CNG prices are unregulated.

“Piedmont Natural Gas has more than doubled its sales of compressed natural gas over the past two years because more businesses are recognising the economic and environmental advantages of CNG,” said Karl Newlin, Duke Energy’s Senior Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer, Natural Gas. “To encourage continued growth, we are helping our customers save money and providing greater access to this superior transportation fuel.”

Other initiatives to accommodate the increase in demand for CNG throughout Piedmont’s three state service area of North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee include:

  • Working with municipalities and other local agencies in Charlotte, Nashville, Wilmington and Anderson, SC, to expand their use of CNG in airport parking shuttles and public transit buses.
  • Providing natural gas to private refuelling stations for two large corporate fleets in Spartanburg, S.C., and Wilmington, N.C. The facilities are included in a network of CNG refuelling stations Piedmont serves for both companies.
  • Adding a third dispenser island at Piedmont’s two-year-old public CNG refuelling station in Nashville, Tennessee, to serve a rapidly growing customer base that includes shuttle buses serving nearby Nashville International Airport, a mail-delivery contractor and regional haulers taking advantage of the station’s proximity to I-40.

In the past year, Piedmont Natural Gas has sold, delivered or used approximately 5 million gasoline-gallon equivalents and expects that volume to grow. About one third of Piedmont’s own corporate fleet now runs on CNG.

“To keep growing our share of the transportation fuel market, we’re doing everything we can to support CNG users,” Newlin said. “By passing along savings we receive from the federal tax credit, we’re doing exactly what the legislation intended – providing incentives for fleet owners and others to reduce their carbon footprint by choosing compressed natural gas.”

Vehicles fuelled by CNG release significantly lower levels of carbon dioxide than gasoline or diesel vehicles, as well as less nitrogen oxide, sulfur oxide and particulates that create ground level ozone or smog.

CNG also costs less than gasoline and diesel, and is currently priced at US$1.46 in North Carolina for the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline.

Most CNG customers are fleet owners looking for a reliable, low cost and lower emitting fuel to power vehicles such as refuse trucks and delivery vehicles, which run regular routes and then return to a fixed refuelling base. Regional long haul carriers also are turning to CNG to use an expanding network of public CNG stations.

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