This shows the CNG conversion kit that has been installed on a regular gasoline burning engine. Several companies throughout Southwest Kansas and the Oklahoma and Texas Panhandles are converting their fleets to CNG to save fuel costs. Hutch’s C Store in Liberal will soon have a CNG pump available to the public. Courtesy photo
• Black Hills Energy
LAWRENCE – Thousands of communities and businesses across the United States are saving tax payers money or increasing profits by converting fleet vehicles to run on natural gas, and the city of Lawrence has purchased a natural gas-powered sanitation truck as a step to determine if doing so here would be a wise move.
After the city decided to purchase the truck, local natural gas utility Black Hills Energy pledged to support the study and during Tuesday’s city commission meeting presented the city with a check for $4,925 to offset natural gas fuel costs for the new truck.
“Black Hills Energy is promoting the benefits of natural gas vehicles to fleet operators as a public service, in the same way we work closely with our local community and business partners to spur economic growth and help improve the quality of life for the people we serve,” said Tim Hess, Black Hills Energy’s NGV expert.
Lawrence Mayor Michael Dever is enthusiastic about the prospects for using natural gas to fuel a variety of fleet vehicles. “We’re committed to achieving the city’s sustainability goals by making practical decisions,” he said. “We must balance concern for the environment, long-term benefits for taxpayers, and the needs of the Lawrence community.”
Buses for schools and public transportation currently are the largest category of natural gas vehicles, and almost 40 percent of the sanitation trucks purchased in 2011 were powered by natural gas.
Converting to natural gas is helping all levels of government cut fleet operation budgets and putting the money they save into education and other projects. Businesses of all sizes have found them a way to increase profits through lower operating costs.
Hess says those claims are backed by plenty of statistics. More than 1.2 million miles of natural gas pipeline with a 100-year history of safe, reliable service already blanket the nation. U.S. companies manufacture more than 100 models of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty NGVs, and there are approximately 140,000 NGVs fueled by more than 1,000 natural gas fueling stations across the country.
“From an economic and environmental standpoint,” Hess said, “the benefits of natural gas as a vehicle fuel grow more enticing every day.”
Hess encourages municipal, county, state and private fleet operators throughout Black Hills Energy’s Kansas service territory to contact him, without obligation, to explore whether NGVs are the right solution for them.
Contact Tim Hess at