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A ribbon cutting ceremony for the city's new Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles and Refueling Station was held March 11.

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A ribbon cutting ceremony for the city's new Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles and Refueling Station was held March 11.

Rocky Mount opens new refueling station

“This is an incredible example. You have the policy, the data and the experience here in North Carolina. I believe we should learn from each other and build on these experiences.”

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The city of Rocky Mount recently was applauded for investing in alternative fuel technologies, resulting in the creation of the city’s new Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles and Refueling Station.

The ribbon cutting ceremony for the new station was held March 11, in which several local officials lauded the city for the new initiative.

“I am just so excited about how much of a leader the city of Rocky Mount continues to be in many arenas, and particularly in the area of clean energy and green jobs,” said N.C. Sen. Angela Bryant, D-Nash. “This is an amazing accomplishment, and I am very excited to think about the partnership with the NC Solar Center, the partnership with the federal government, including the use of stimulus funds that helped to make this available, as well a partnership with S.C., a multistate partnership that helps this initiative go forward.”

The Public Works Department was charged with investing in alternative fuel technologies after receiving a sub-award grant from the N.C. Solar Center through the United States.

Department of Energy Blue Skies Initiative. The grant covered more than 90 percent of the costs for the new station and the cost differential between Compressed Natural Gas powered refuse trucks and diesel powered trucks.

Along with the new Compressed Natural Gas station, the project also included the acquisition of two Compressed Natural Gas powered rear loaders used to pick up yard waste and small bulk waste. Due to the construction of the Compressed Natural Gas station, the Parks and Recreation Department also has been able to acquire a 45 passenger Compressed Natural Gas powered bus to assist in transporting youth during summer camps.

While these are only a few examples of Compressed Natural Gas powered vehicles used by the city, there is a possibility for more in the near future.

“There is the capacity to do more,” Mayor David Combs said. “There is a possible expansion of Compressed Natural Gas vehicles in other departments, such as public utilities, water resources and more.”

N.C. Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, noted the N.C. General Assembly’s focus on natural gas.

“I would like to point out that in the General Assembly, we are working very hard to take advantage of the resources that have been found in North Carolina and hopefully within the space of just a few years,” he said. “This natural gas will not only be domestically produced, but it will be produced right here and transported right here in North Carolina. That will produce thousands of good paying jobs in the state and hopefully make the cost efficiencies increase even more.”

Some advantages of Compressed Natural Gas include:

  • it is a cleaner burning fuel compared to gasoline, diesel or propane;
  • it produces less pollutants;
  • it is superior in performance;
  • when compared to gasoline engines;
  • it is much less expensive, or about half the cost of diesel;
  • the time between oil changes for natural gas cars and trucks also is extended, starting at almost 10,000 miles depending on the use of the vehicle.