Little Rock CNG Station Will Bring Total To 7 in Arkansas

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014 12:00 am  

Central Arkansas Transit Authority also has plans for CNG conversion, but neither Little Rock’s station nor the existing North Little Rock one would be compatible with CATA’s buses.

When open, the CNG portion of the station will be available to anyone with a CNG-enabled vehicle. The station will also have regular gasoline and diesel fuel pumps, but Jones said these will be available only to state and federal agencies.

The city plans to market the availability of the station, Jones said. The Design Group of Little Rock is in charge of that process; Renee Tyler, coordinator of fleet special programs, said the city is spending $25,000 on the campaign.

“It’s been streamlined,” she said of the campaign. “We’re hoping to get some more money in 2014 and we’ve also got some sponsorship interests, so the budget may increase.”

In the future, Jones said, the city would like to add a second compressor and dispenser, as well as potentially construct a charging station for electric vehicles.

Gas Expands

The state has plans to encourage more companies and cities to build CNG stations and convert their vehicles. The state itself owns as many as 150 known CNG-converted vehicles, with more that were purchased with CNG fuel options already installed.

Simpson, at the Energy Office, said Arkansas Act 532, passed in the 2013 legislative session, authorized the office to spend up to $2.4 million in incentives for building stations that supply CNG and other gaseous fuels like liquid natural gas or liquid petroleum gas.

The incentives come in the form of rebates returning 75 percent of a CNG station’s development costs or $400,000, whichever is lower, Simpson said.

But the window of opportunity is short. “Those rebates we just launched on Dec. 5,” Simpson said. “The application period will run until Jan. 24 of [2014].”

Starting in the first quarter of 2014, Act 532 will also allow rebates for converting vehicles for CNG use. To that end, the state will offer a rebate of 50 percent of conversion cost or $4,500.

To qualify for the rebate vehicles must have been manufactured in 2012 or later. Conversion costs range from $5,000 to $15,000.

Jones said converting vehicles in Little Rock’s fleet generally costs between $8,500 and $9,000. He said the city recently purchased two CNG-enabled Honda Civics for $24,500 each.

Jones said Little Rock’s station is a good investment and he hopes other groups will continue building the state’s network.

“I think it’s something that all cities and the federal government should be focusing on, and that is how we can reduce our dependencies on foreign oil,” Jones said. “At the same time we can have a cleaner environment for our kids and grandkids. I think this is the way to go.”



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