New Jersey recently received a $15 million federal grant to expand infrastructure for cheaper and cleaner vehicle fuels, especially propane and compressed natural gas, the Star-Ledger reported today.
The money has already funded a compressed natural gas fueling station opening later this month at the state’s Waste Management facility in Camden, and will help build six more similar stations by the end of this year. Slated locations include Atlantic City, Trenton, Newark, Mount Arlington and Egg Harbor.
“In coming years there’s going to be a lot more choices to make for people, a lot more options,” said Chuck Feinberg, coordinator of New Jersey Clean Cities Coalition. “It’s not going to be one-thing-fits-all like it is with gasoline now.”
Will these natural gas stations create competition for autogas? Robert Nicholson, head of the Eastern Propane Corporation, acknowledged natural gas is a good option to make available to consumers, but still believes autogas is the way to go. Touting its availability, affordability, and eco-friendliness, this “third generation propane man” seems confident the federal government will continue to support autogas through financial incentives and legislation.
“You can pull in to a propane dealer where you take your barbeque tank or your camper and get it filled,” Nicholson said.
One significant advantage of compressed natural gas is that Honda is currently manufacturing a natural gas Civic, whereas autogas-ready vehicles aren’t yet available in the U.S. However, conversion kit sales for both autogas and natural gas are picking up across the state, especially with fleet companies. Insiders expect both industries to continue to grow – a win-win.
“Now that the infrastructure is going into place, I’m getting calls from other fleets in those areas,” Feinberg added. “They want to convert their fleets as well. It’s really stimulating the market.”