Natural Gas Bubbles Up in Texas

Fifth Love's CNG site, better-than-expected tax revenues show fuel's potential

Love's CNG (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Gas Stations)

DALLAS -- Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes natural gas, which is developing faster than many industry observers expected of as a transportation fuel.

According to the Railroad Commission of Texas--the state's rail and energy regulatory body--fiscal 2014 tax revenue from sales of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) motor fuel hit nearly $2.2 million as of July 31, 2014, more than previous estimates.

Commissioner David Porter, who has championed the use of natural gas as a motor fuel through Texas' Natural Gas Initiative, said that this figure was more than double state forecasters' initial projection of $992,000, or 6.6 million gallon equivalents sold. With a tax of 15 cents per gallon equivalent of CNG or LNG, the $2.2 million represents 14.5 million gallon equivalents of natural gas sold or 220% the initial estimate.

"Natural-gas vehicles are becoming mainstream faster than expected," Porter said. "And there's plenty of room for growth. These excellent sales figures represent only a fraction of potential sales, as more and more fleet operators take advantage of the cost savings, lower emissions and energy-security benefits of Texas natural gas."

Meanwhile, Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. opened its first CNG fueling site in Dallas this week, which gives the retailer five fast-fill CNG sites in the Texas Triangle. These include its travel stops in Willis, Houston, Fort Worth and Katy. It also has a fast-fill CNG site in its home town of Oklahoma City.

"The availability of CNG at another travel stop along the Texas Triangle between Dallas, Houston and San Antonio gives professional drivers and leisure travelers more fueling options," said Jenny Love Meyer, vice president of communications at Love's. "By introducing the fueling alternative at this location and others, travel between these three cities and beyond is feasible using CNG."

Love's is selling CNG for $1.99 in Dallas. Three more CNG sites in the Texas Triangle are slated to open in the coming months.

"Giving our customers the option to use Love's fast-fill CNG is one way we're staying true to our promise to provide innovative solutions for our customers," said Bill Cashmareck, general manager of natural gas at Love's, which has 320 retail locations in 39 states. "We'll continue to expand our fast-fill CNG network at travel stops nationwide."

The company also said it will be opening additional fast-fill CNG sites soon in San Antonio, Seguin and Amarillo, Texas; Oklahoma City, Ardmore and Webbers Falls, Okla.; Burbank, Ohio; Williams, Ariz.; and Albuquerque, N.M.

Part of CSP's 2014 Convenience Top 101 retailers