PIKEVILLE, Ky. (July 6, 2012) — Pike County is working on establishing the first public bi-fuel station in Kentucky.
Energy rich and trademarked as “America’s Energy Capital,” Pike County is the leading coal and natural gas producer — 53 percent of the total — in Kentucky. In order to capitalize on the natural resources readily available in its natural gas fields, officials there hope to make Kentucky history by opening the first station for vehicles capable of running on two fuels.
The announcement came from the office of Pike County Judge/Executive Wayne T. Rutherford and Pike County Energy and Community Development Director Charles Carlton.
“It would look and operate the same as any other gas station,” Rutherford said. “It would simply offer a much less expensive fuel option, which is compressed natural gas, or CNG.”
On the average, consumers would pay 50 percent less per BTU in comparison to regular gasoline or diesel fuel per gallon.
“This station would be located at the entrance to the Scott Fork Energy Park on Pike County’s Energy Corridor, US 119,” Carlton said. “There is a pipeline on the mountain behind Scott Fork Energy Park that will make natural gas available at the station.”
Three natural gas transmission lines cross Pike County, according to Rutherford and Carlton. These lines make it very easy to provide CNG as a transportation fuel, Carlton said.
“It’s like having a petroleum refinery next door to a service station providing gas and diesel to the public,” Carlton said. “This new fuel revolution is here, and within six months there will several bi-fuel vehicles in Pike County.”
Rutherford said he and Carlton have lived through two transportation fuel revolutions in their lifetimes.
“In the 1950s, locomotives switched from steam to diesel, and in later years passenger vehicles switched from diesel to gasoline,” Rutherford said.
[pullquote_left]“We have all this natural gas available to use and we plan on using it for the betterment of Pike County and central Appalachia. It is also a national security issue. A majority of the fuel produced from imported oil is used by the United States Armed Forces.” — Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford [/pullquote_left]
America’s automotive industry has begun manufacturing cars and trucks capable of operating on either regular gasoline or CNG and so have large truck builders and suppliers such as Mack, Peterbilt and Navistar, Carlton said. Among the local users of bi-fuel would be Pike County, the state of Kentucky, the Pike County Board of Education, Sandy Valley Transportation, the City of Pikeville, as well as private companies. Carlton said Ford Motor Company is producing trucks that operate on CNG at is Louisville, Ky., plant.
Kentucky has joined a consortium of 15 states to begin buying bi-fuel vehicle fleets.
“The Pike County Government is demonstrating its vision to lead,” Rutherford said. “We have all this natural gas available to use and we plan on using it for the betterment of Pike County and central Appalachia. It is also a national security issue. A majority of the fuel produced from imported oil is used by the United States Armed Forces.”
One of the most frequently asked questions in regard to CNG is whether it is safe; and the answer is yes, according to Carlton.
“As everyone knows, gasoline is a flammable liquid,” Carlton said. “CNG dissipates into the air and does not lay low, making it less combustible; it is cleaner and safer than gasoline.”
The public bi-fuel station will offer gasoline, diesel, CNG and propane. A bi-fuel vehicle can switch to either gas or CNG, which, according to Rutherford, is why this public bi-fuel station is so important.
“The CNG revolution will drastically decrease America’s dependency on foreign oil from countries in the Middle East that don’t like us, want us dead and want to destroy our quality of life,” Rutherford said. “We will be using transportation fuel from natural gas from right here within our borders.”
The scope of the CNG project will have an enormous impact on America’s fragile economic situation, Rutherford said.