by: Jim Strickland Updated:DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. —
Gas for less than $2.50 per gallon is now available at a new fueling station in DeKalb County.
The station, which opened Thursday, is the largest pumping station for compressed natural gas cars in Georgia, but it will only fuel a handful of Georgia passenger cars.
Fifteen million dollars in federal stimulus money helped build the station at 4420 Buford Highway and five others in metro Atlanta. The Buford Highway facility is operated by American Fueling Systems, an Atlanta-based convenience store company.
"The infrastructure has to come first. You have to be able to refuel the vehicle before a customer's going to be able to buy the vehicle," said Don Francis of Clean Cities Atlanta.
Fleets like DeKalb’s sanitation vehicles will keep stations afloat while waiting for consumers to buy natural gas cars. UPS will fuel there too. They have 136 natural gas trucks.
Airport Marriott transportation chief Rory Bell said the hotel saves 80 cents per gallon pumping CNG (compressed natural gas).
"Whatever cost we save in production and operating, we can probably save our customers, the consumer in the hospitality industry as well," he said.
Gas South is supplying the fuel. Company president Kevin Greiner said with a stagnant new housing market, CNG fuel is where growth in the gas business will come.
"You're going to see more and more companies looking at compressed natural gas and saying, 'Gosh, it's cleaner, its abundant, it's domestic, and it saves us money,'" Greiner said.
Under a separate plan, Atlanta Gas Light will open two stations for the city of Atlanta's private use and a public-use station in Forest Park. A remodeled station downtown on Whitehall reopens next week.