York County has a population of 217,488 people, and is one of the fastest growing areas of the state. The region in which we are located is a "non-attainment area," meaning air pollution levels exceed National Ambient Air Quality Standards. Increase in population means an increase in the number of vehicles on the roads, thus an increase in emissions exhaust.
With a customer base of about 57,000 and
a service area of 682 square miles, we realized our fleet was contributing to the problem.
When we coupled that with the knowledge
we also had a cheaper fuel right under our feet,
the question went from "Are we going to do this?" to "How many vehicles can we do?"
In February, 2010 The Authority applied and was awarded a grant through the South Carolina Energy Office to be used to convert seven light duty trucks to CNG. However, as anyone who has experience with CNG knows, getting the vehicles is only half the challenge. Building a fueling station with enough capacity to allow
for our growing fleet, and hopefully other private or governmental vehicles, is another.
After extensive research, the Authority's Board of Directors approved the construction of a CNG fueling station with public access here in York County. We will use our fleet to raise awareness of the benefits of natural gas
and encourage other companies to switch.
The City of Rock Hill has already committed
to build a CNG fueling station at its new Operation Center. This station will have both time fill and fast fill capability and also public access. Marty Burr, Performance Manager for the City of Rock Hill describes the city's plan
for CNG fueling. "The city has been involved in developing alternative fuels for many years
to improve air quality in our community, and this is another step in that process. We will have six or more vehicles utilizing CNG at the start, and we plan to increase this number each year until we have at least thirty or forty vehicles utilizing this form of alternative fuel. These vehicles will be of various types including refuse trucks."
David Simril, Senior Vice President of
Facilities and Construction for Comporium Communications, a communications company with a fleet of over 500 vehicles, had this to say about CNG fueling in general. "I am very pleased that York County Natural Gas Authority is moving forward with the CNG fueling station.
We have been very interested in this option for some of our vehicles for some time. Hopefully this will give us the opportunity to move forward with this initiative. We are excited to have the prospect of partnering with the gas company
and this new technology."
For York County Natural Gas Authority,
we simply couldn't deny the facts. Our vehicles should be running on natural gas. We feel that once we are able use our fleet to show the facts to other companies, they won’t be able to deny them either.