Group encouraging fleets to switch to compressed natural gas

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. Clean Energy Economy for the region, or CLEER, is looking to drive the movement toward compressed natural gas in Grand Junction starting with fleets.

The group presented to local fleet managers, business leaders and politicians to encourage fleets to start shifting vehicles to CNG.

"In the time of ownership you can save anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000 owning a CNG vehicle versus owning a gasoline vehicle or diesel vehicle," said Mike Ogburn, of CLEER.

Ogburn said using alternative fuel saves businesses money in the long run and contributes to cleaner air even though the vehicles are more expensive upon purchase.

"Find the fleets that are willing to make that smart upfront investment and who are willing to save big on compressed natural gas fuel over time," he said.

Grand Junction already has nine refuse trucks that are entirely run by compressed natural gas.

"There is an incremental cost of going from a diesel engine up to a compressed natural gas engine," said Jay Valentine, internal services manager for Grand Junction. "Refuse trucks get so many miles on them per day that the payback is much quicker."

Grand Junction built the city's first compressed natural gas station, but CLEER members said they hope to build another station by getting more fleets to use CNG vehicles.

"We've heard from the community to really start buying more natural gas vehicles, they'd like to see a second station," Ogburn said.

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