Seattle CNG Station Opens for Business

PetroCard, a fuels distributor, and Waste Management announced on May 1 the grand opening of a "Clean N' Green Fuel" compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station in South Seattle, the first public-access CNG facility in the city.

For businesses and consumers with CNG-compatible vehicles, the facility offers a readily available and affordable fuel. The station sells CNG at prices typically one-third below gasoline and diesel.

"CNG is an environmentally friendly, alternative fuel that is ready and available today," said Steve Tolton, chief executive officer of PetroCard. "Our partnership with Waste Management has made it more convenient for fleets and consumers with CNG vehicles to reduce emissions and save money."

There are currently more than 120,000 CNG vehicles in the United States and more than 8 million worldwide. In the United States, a majority of those vehicles are government or business fleets. Locally, several municipalities, airport shuttles and taxis run fleet vehicles on CNG including vehicles from the King County Government fleet and STITA airport taxis. The Honda Civic GX is currently the only consumer CNG vehicle on the American car market, however many standard engines can be converted to use CNG.

The Clean N' Green Fuel partnership began as a natural fit between Waste Management's need to fill their CNG-powered trucks and PetroCard's expertise in providing self-service fueling stations. Given the growing interest in petroleum alternatives and the need for reduced emissions, PetroCard and Waste Management may look to replicate the joint venture in other parts of the region.

CNG is sold in gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs), with each GGE having the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. Vehicles using CNG typically have similar or better fuel economy ratings than standard gasoline or diesel vehicles, and today CNG is approximately one-third lower in price. Current pricing at the station is in the range of $1.70-$1.80/GGE.

Recognized by many environmental groups as a viable alternative to petroleum based fuels, CNG produces 17-80 percent less nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, 25 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions, and provides up to 85 percent reduction in toxic soot associated with conventional diesel engines.

With a company-wide focus on sustainable business practices, Waste Management has 108 CNG trucks in their Seattle area fleet. These trucks will reduce the company's NOx by 97 percent, toxic diesel particulate matter by 94 percent and greenhouse gas by 20 percent over current levels. In addition to using CNG trucks, the company is also committed to sustainability through programs such as carbon sequestration, groundwater protection, and methane capture at landfills around the country.

PetroCard, based in Kent, Wash., sells fuel to commercial fleets through a chain of unattended cardlocks and provides mobile fueling services. Today the company has 66 cardlocks – 27 sites in the greater Seattle area, 3 sites in Spokane, Wash., and 36 sites in Oregon.