Columbia's First Natural Gas Station Under Construction

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COLUMBIA - Construction is underway on Columbia's first Compressed Natural Gas fueling station.

A compressed natural gas station fuels cars that run on natural gas. The station will be open to the public. Cars that run on natural gas must be specially configured to run on compressed natural gas instead of diesel or gasoline.

Columbia Public Works Fleet Operations Manager Eric Evans said compressed natural gas is a growing fuel option.

"It's quickly becoming a premier fuel in the transportation industry because of its low cost," Evans said.

Evans said the cost is up to 50 percent less than the cost of diesel and gasoline. He also said that in addition to the economic advantage, compressed natural gas is also environmentally friendly.

Public Works said compressed natural gas is a much cleaner fuel that will make no contribution to greenhouse gases.

Evans said the station will give Columbia residents more options for fuel and hopes it will encourage them to start using compressed natural gas. He also said that some residents already use it and are glad a station will finally open in Columbia.

The city has 25 vehicles on order that will run on the fuel. The city is most concerned with larger trucks that use the most fuel, such as school buses and dump trucks. The goal is to lower city fuel costs and also improve the environment by using cleaner fuel.

Evans said the station will also benefit trucks and cars that run on compressed natural gas by giving them a fueling station midway between Kansas City and St. Louis.

The city of Columbia is working with Clean Energy, a company that specializes in providing compressed natural gas, on the project.

The station will be located at 1900 Lake Ridgeway Drive and Public Works expects to complete construction in late June or early July.