Natural gas station opens in Lincoln

By: Rachel Witter

It's the first in Lincoln and the third in the state of Nebraska. A natural gas fueling station opened to the public today. The ribbon was cut this afternoon at Airpark, and this station will save some area businesses and the city a lot of money.

A gallon of gasoline for $1.93. It's a reality for some natural gas powered vehicles. Eric Hoke, owner of Eric's Electric here in Lincoln, said he was paying up to $90 a week filling up one of his business' vans.

Now that his company uses a compressed natural gas, or CNG vehicle, it costs a lot less. “With having natural gas, I can say right now it costs us an average of $23 per week, so it's a big savings I can pass onto our customers,” Hoke said.

CNG is not only cheaper than regular gasoline, it's much more environmentally friendly. Though the price of CNG is easy on the wallet, it will also help with the cost of repairs. Natural gas actually weighs less than normal gasoline so this reduces the wear and tear on your vehicle. The cost of natural gas is more stable than a barrel of oil, so don't expect the price per gallon to skyrocket anytime soon.

With the availability of CNG now open to the public, the airport authority says this will enable local businesses with CNG vehicles to start converting their fleets to the greener alternative. “Anybody driving a natural gas vehicle can pull up here 24 hours a day and get gas at a $1.93, roughly half the price compared to gasoline. Our proximity to the interstate helps for anyone coming across country,” said John Wood with the Lincoln Airport Authority.

A grant from the Metropolitan Energy Center helped pay the cost of building the station. Some initial users of the station are Black Hills Energy and the Lincoln Library's Bookmobile. The Airport Authority hopes to expand its fleet of seven CNG vehicles to 23 in the next two years.