The first filling station for natural gas vehicles in Philadelphia is now open to the public, bringing the total number of stations offering compressed natural gas (CNG) in Pennsylvania up to 26.
Natural gas is cheaper than gasoline and diesel. Despite an abundant supply, it has been slow to catch on as a transportation fuel – in part, because there are so few places to fill up. As a result, CNG vehicles have become more popular with businesses that operate large fleets of buses and trucks.
The new facility, just off Route 1 in Philadelphia’s East Falls neighborhood, was built by VNG Inc. in an existing BP gas station, complete with a convenience store, a Dunkin’ Donuts, and several rows of traditional gas pumps. The goal, said VNG’s chief operating officer Robert Friedman, is to provide everyday drivers with a “familiar, convenient and high-quality retail experience.”
Friedman acknowledged that the market for CNG is still small, with only about 100,000 natural gas vehicles on the road across the country. However, he said he is encouraged by the record-breaking production in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale.