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Compressed Natural Gas station opens in Columbia

The first Compressed Natural Gas fueling station in Central Missouri opened in Columbia Tuesday.

The station is located near the Bass Pro Shops at 63 and Vandiver.

The private company Clean Energy built the facility on city-owned land. Part of the deal requires the city to get five cents per gallon on all fuel purchased by privately-owned vehicles.

Mayor Bob McDavid said in about 10 years when the city fleets are built up, it will save taxpayers one million dollars a year in fuel costs.

The City of Columbia uses about 1.5 million gallons of fuel a year for its fleet. That includes garbage trucks, public works trucks, transit buses and more.

Right now, compressed natural gas costs $1.99 per gallon, which is more than a dollar per gallon cheaper than gasoline and diesel fuels.

Two pumps are reserved for city vehicles, but a third pump is open to private vehicles as well. Many companies like Hogan Transport and Dart Transit have started using CNG vehicles.

CNG is produced in the United States. Clean Energy also says CNG is better for the environment. The company claims the fuel emits up to 90 percent fewer emissions than gasoline. In addition, the vehicles have lower maintenance costs due to lower engine wear and fewer oil changes.

However, natural gas cars are more expensive than vehicles that run on standard gasoline. GNG cars get about 90 percent of the miles per gallon than a standard vehicle does.

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