Murray said the current plan is to build a two-pump/two-dispenser fueling station that could be expanded to four pumps and four dispensers.
“We’re building this with an eye to the future,” he said.
Murray said the plan would also enable the city to expand its fleet to take advantage of the fuel savings. While the cost of a CNG or electric-hybrid vehicle is often more than a gasoline-fueled vehicle, he said the fuel savings more than makes up for the difference.
Murray also noted there are federal grants available to help cities reduce the cost of acquiring such vehicles. Hamilton currently owners four CNG vehicles, he said.
Initially, the filling station will only be used by the city’s CNG-fueled vehicles in the public service and public utilities departments. Tim Werdmann, deputy city manager for utilities, said eventually allowing the public and private sectors access to the fueling station is also “a big part of our plan.”
Murray said the Butler County Regional Transit Authority and the Hamilton City School District have already expressed a willingness to invest in CNG-fueled vehicles. He said operating a CNG station will open up a whole other market for the city.
Murray said a CNG fueling station off Interstate 70, owned by the city of Columbus, charges a government rate of $1.70 gallon and a public rate of $2.07 a gallon.
City officials said natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel available today and the U.S. has more than a 100- year supply. In addition, it reduces the dependence on foreign oil and has lower emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. For residents, it extends the time between tune-ups and oil changes.
A number of cities across the state are making investments in CNG stations. Columbus already operates one and will be constructing two more. The city of Dublin has a CNG fueling station in operation, and Vectren Energy Delivery of Ohio recently received approval to construct a CNG fueling station in Fairborn.