Columbia man predicts his unusual truck will be the first of many

3 years 8 months 1 day ago Tuesday, September 23 2014 Sep 23, 2014 Tuesday, September 23, 2014 4:37:00 PM CDT September 23, 2014 in News
By: Jack Korte, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Sam Easley says he saves anywhere between $3,000-7,000 per year driving an alternative energy pick-up truck, and he's the only person in the area that has one like it.

"It runs on both gasoline and compressed natural gas," Easley said. "And it has a range of 700 miles, so I could drive from here to Pensacola, Florida without filling up if both tanks are full before I leave."

The city of Columbia recently opened its first compressed natural gas (CNG) station on August 26. It provides fuel for the newly-bought city-owned vehicles and the general public, at a cost equivalent to about 60 percent of the price of regular gasoline.

"Compressed natural gas provides a very economic and environmentally-safe fuel to use," said Eric Evans, Columbia Fleet Operations manager. "This provides us the opportunity to diversify our fuel source so that we're not relying on just a single source. Relying on petroleum based-fuels that come from foreign countries can sometimes be interrupted or cause some real spikes in cost."

Spikes in international prices would not be a concern with CNG, which is a domestic fuel source.

Evans said the city of Columbia currently has nine compressed natural gas-powered vehicles with 31 more on the way.

The potential savings once Columbia's plan is in full effect are staggering, Evans said.

"When we fully implement our vehicles and our fleet that we want to convert to natural gas, we're looking at saving almost a million dollars per year in fuel cost," Evans said.

So far, Easley is the only person in the city to own a personal vehicle that runs on both CNG and gasoline.

"It's lonely out here!" Easley said, laughing. "I don't run into very many people out here filling up. This is almost like my own personal fuel station."

But that could change.

"It took about seven years for diesel to become a premiere fuel. The experts think that natural gas is in the second year of that same kind of process," Evans said. "I think it's is growing so fast that it won't be long where natural gas stations are as common as gas stations are today."

Easley's occupation is what led to him purchasing the CNG vehicle.

"I'm a contractor, and I drive a lot more miles than everyone else does," Easley said. "I've spent over $10,000 in fuel in one year."

Easley said this put a strain on his wallet, so he searched for a solution.

"I started looking for a cheaper fuel, and I was looking in the area of 'griesel', which is diesel synthetic. The cost and the time involved in it was just way too much," Easley said. "I stumbled across compressed natural gas vehicles that were being sold in Oklahoma, which led me to Kansas, which then led me to Joe Machens for a Westport Wing CNG truck."

Easley said he would not be surprised if more people in other driving-intensive occupations purchase a CNG vehicle.

"There's electricians, there's plumbers, there's taxi cab drivers, all of those types of people will make the switch first. Then you'll see homeowners make the switch," Easley said. "There has to be more infrastructure. It's here. It's coming."

For now, he said, he is compressed natural gas' biggest supporter.

"It's fun to be on the cutting edge and way out front while no one else has one," Easley said. "But I'm pushing it hard to all my buddies."

Evans said a CNG vehicle would be beneficial to people who plan on staying close to home, but it may not be good for long-distance hauls.

"If you're going to stay in the Columbia area, and you're a commuter, certainly you could get a natural gas vehicle and take advantage of that," Evans said. "I wouldn't try to drive to California today with a natural gas vehicle because there are gaps in that infrastructure in the United States."

More News

Grid
List
NEW BLOOMFIELD - New Bloomfield has a new mayor, but it's the way he was selected that has a group... More >>
8 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 9:26:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The ACLU of Missouri is suing the Independence School District on behalf of a senior... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 6:35:52 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Thornbrook neighborhood was without water and electricity for almost two hours on Friday. Columbia Water and... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 5:36:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY – Four vehicle crashes have occurred this week along State Road F west of Fulton in Callaway County.... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 4:12:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – After serving eight years in the United States Air Force, the passion of this veteran for sky travel... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:50:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - In another day of political theater, the special House committee investigating Governor Eric Greitens heard new testimony... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 3:15:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- Organizers are expecting a large turnout for the 30th annual "Salute to Veterans" airshow on Memorial Day weekend. ... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:53:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- When most people lose an animal, one of the first steps is to put a "missing" sign on a... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:46:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Aircraft and pilots met at Columbia Regional Airport Friday to prepare for the 30th annual "Salute to Veterans"... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:45:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
CALIFORNIA - A high-speed car chase ended Sunday when the suspect slid into a ditch, according to a press release... More >>
14 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:30:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- It's no secret more cars will out for Memorial Day weekend, but many drivers are taking precautions before... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 2:16:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - More than five hundred Missourians have lost their hunting, fishing and trapping licenses after a Department of... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 1:48:00 PM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
HARRISONVILLE (AP) — Authorities say a 12-year-old western Missouri boy fought off an attempted abduction by hitting the... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 8:53:00 AM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating an early morning crash on I-70 Westbound. It caused major backups... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, May 25 2018 May 25, 2018 Friday, May 25, 2018 8:47:00 AM CDT May 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - On Thursday, the Columbia Airport Advisory Board announced the TSA approved a security screening lane to open by... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 11:41:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- May is known for Mother’s day, Memorial Day and in Missouri, the start of tick season. “May, June... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 8:21:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA – The Columbia City Council discussed a recent engineering study today centering on increasing traffic flow east of Columbia.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 7:11:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
LAKE OZARK - The Missouri State Highway Patrol is encouraging people to practice safe boating ahead of Memorial Day weekend.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, May 24 2018 May 24, 2018 Thursday, May 24, 2018 6:55:00 PM CDT May 24, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 67°
6am 68°
7am 70°
8am 73°
9am 76°