Some Oklahoma Drivers Save Thousands Of Dollars As CNG Prices Drop

Tuesday, January 8th 2013, 4:27 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

You can now fuel up your vehicle for less than a dollar per gallon; if your car runs on compressed natural gas, or CNG.

OnCue stations are now selling CNG for $.99 a gallon. The price dropped after a $.50 credit was included in the "fiscal cliff" bill.

Now, those who convert vehicles to CNG say they can't keep up with the demand.

About three months ago, Dr. Jay Gregston converted his brand new Toyota pickup and his wife's SUV to CNG.

"I definitely saved money. We filled up this morning for $10 in Lindsey and have driven to Norman and Oklahoma City and still have half a tank," he said.

The employees at OKC CNG converted Dr. Gregston's vehicle to a bi-fuel system, which means it will run on both CNG and regular unleaded gasoline. The cost of such a conversion runs between $6,500 and $8,000. An Oklahoma state tax credit will reimburse drivers for 50 percent of that.

"The timeline really is about eight months to get your cost back, although some get it back much quicker because they drive so many miles," OKC ONG co-owner David Chapman said.

According to the Oklahoma Governor's Office, an owner of a CNG vehicle will save $20,000 over the vehicle's lifetime.

Add that to the fact that some analysts say gas prices could soar to above $4 a gallon this year, and CNG decreases our dependence on foreign oil; and most proponents say compressed natural gas is the fuel of the future.

"Number one: it's American," said Chapman. "Number two, it's much less expensive and number three, it's better for your motor because it burns much cleaner. Your oil changes can be extended out. Your tune-ups can be extended because it's not a carbon-based fuel."

Because of that, Chapman says your car will last longer. Those that run on CNG get the same, if not better, performance.

Right now OnCue says it has 13 stations that have CNG pumps. The gas station chain plans to just about double that this year by adding eight to 12 new sites.

Love's also has 10 CNG stations across the state. A spokesperson for the company says it's optimistic that it will also be adding more pumps.