By Andrea Agardy, staff writer
The Elk River Public Utility District (ERPUD) is hoping the newest addition to its fleet will encourage more people to consider the benefits of vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).
The utility’s 2012 CNG Honda Civic hit the road about two weeks ago, said Levoid Baltimore, the utility’s marketing representative.
The Civic is the utility’s second CNG vehicle. Last year the utility put a ford F-150 pickup truck on the road that has the
ability to run on either gasoline or CNG. Part of the cost of retrofitting the truck to run on CNG included a refueling station that was installed behind ERPUD’s South Jackson Street office, which the new Honda also uses.
Baltimore said that unlike the pickup truck, the Civic rolled off the assembly line outfitted to run on natural gas and natural gas alone. He said the tank has an 8-gallon capacity and a range of between 240 to 320 miles on a single tank.
The Civic, which cost approximately $23,000, is being used as part of the utility’s automated meter reading program, and Baltimore said the employee who uses the new vehicle to make his rounds likes the car and its performance.
“So far, he’s pleased,” Baltimore said. “He went from a pickup truck to his car and he’s excited to be driving something unique.”
In addition to promoting ERPUD and the product and service it provides to its customers, Baltimore said utility officials are hopeful that seeing another CNG vehicle out on the roads will help awareness of the benefits of CNG-powered cars, which he said are not only cleaner from an emissions standpoint, but less expensive to operate. He said currently, fueling a CNG vehicle is roughly half the cost of filling a car with gasoline.
Andrea Agardy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.