By Jeff Gilbert

MELVINDALE (WWJ) Utilities and environmentalists are teaming up to make it easier for people to fill up their vehicles with natural gas, as an alternative.

DTE Energy and MichCon today opened up a new natural gas refueling station in Melvindale, at 3751 Greenfield Road.  It’s the 13th station they’ve opened in the area.  For a list of the others, follow this link.

All of these stations are open to the general public.  Operating a natural gas pump is similar to operating a gasoline pump.

Natural gas’s advantages are that it’s cleaner than gasoline, and its cost.

“Natural gas is about two dollars a gallon, compared to about four dollars for gasoline,” MichCon President Jerry Norcia.

There are still issues to be dealt with including the high cost of converting a vehicle to run on natural gas.  That’s why systems like this are better for fleets right now.

Honda has a natural gas powered Civic.  General Motors recently signed a deal with a supplier to develop natural gas powered vehicles.  That gives hope to environmentalists that use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative fuel will become more widespread.

“CNG has been out here for a while,” says Sam Reed, executive director of the Clean Energy Coalition.  “It’s a great fit for fleet operations, but it’s a great fit for individuals as well.”


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