NPL and Innovation: CNG Vehicles

Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles are part of NPL’s rich tradition of innovation. NPL put its first CNG vehicle into service in 1993 as part of a test project with Minnegasco in Minnesota. It was a one-ton Chevy flat bed truck used to transport materials. While the truck’s miles per gallon remained the same using natural gas instead of traditional fuel, the cost was much lower – about $0.70 per gallon to fill its 10-gallon tank. The gas was provided by Minnegasco.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional CNG vehicles were later added to the fleet. Pictured at the top is 35-year NPL veteran Todd Davisson (currently Director of Procurement & Assets) with his CNG pickup in NPL’s “Heartland” division (now Mid-America) in 1993. Southern Union Gas also partnered with NPL to convert other vehicles to use natural gas at their Vehicle Technology Center in Austin, Texas. These vehicles were accompanied by slow fill compressors for convenient filling at home. Below, Bill Johnson, then NPL’s CEO, receives the keys for his CNG Chevy Lumina from Southern Union Gas president Pete Kelly. Also pictured are Ron Edress (Southern Union Gas), Glenn Cox and Mark Wambach.

 

 

 

 

 

Below, the son of a former NPL executive refuels one of NPL’s CNG cars from a FuelMaker CNG compressor at his home in Phoenix, 1995. The compressor itself cost around $4,000, with conversion of the car costing about the same. The natural gas itself cost the equivalent of $0.55 per gallon. Serviced by Southwest Gas, this CNG compressor unit was the first of its kind in Phoenix.