Motorists in Central Arkansas and the Fort Smith area have had access to compressed natural gas fueling stations, but CNG didn’t arrive in Northwest Arkansas until this month.
Thanks to Kum & Go’s decision to bring the alternative fuel to customers in Springdale, the region’s first CNG station opened May 7.
A midday open house for invited guests will be held June 4 to celebrate the availability of CNG at the store, which is located at the corner of Old Missouri Road and Robinson Avenue near the Springdale Municipal Airport.
Springdale Water Utilities and Ozark Regional Transit were among the station’s first customers. Both agencies have indicated an interest in expanding their use of CNG if initial tests of the new vehicles show they provide significant cost savings.
CNG’s price this morning at the Kum & Go location in Springdale — $1.599 per gallon gasoline equivalent — was far below the price of other fuels. Unleaded gasoline was $2.349 a gallon.
CNG is made by compressing natural gas to less than 1 percent of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. Consisting mostly of methane, CNG is odorless, colorless and tasteless. In addition, CNG costs significantly less than gasoline or diesel and emits fewer emissions than gasoline.
“Kum & Go has a proud tradition of being an industry leader in sustainable practices,” said Kyle Krause, Kum & Go’s chief executive officer. “By providing CNG to our Northwest Arkansas communities, we are not only filling a need for our customers, we’re also staying true to our commitment to operating our business with a focus on being environmentally-friendly.”
At the request of some of its members, the Northwest Arkansas Council in April 2013 established a new CNG-related goal and began informing public entities and private companies about the cost-saving advantages provided by CNG. Since that time, the Council has remained in communication with companies, school districts, local governments, state officials and legislators about the need to establish CNG stations in Northwest Arkansas.
A $400,000 rebate provided by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Energy Office helped make the project feasible for Kum & Go. As part of the office’s Gaseous Fuels Rebate Program, the state agreed to reimburse the company for some of the costs associated with opening the new fueling station in Springdale.
There are CNG stations in other regions of the state. Stations are operating in Damascus, Conway, Forrest City, Little Rock, Searcy, North Little Rock, Fort Smith, West Memphis and Jonesboro.