Pittsburgh gains its first public CNG fueling stations

Giant Eagle owns 162 fuel and convenience stores throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland along with their line of major grocery outlets. Yesterday, the company unveiled its first two compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations in the Pittsburgh area at its Beechnut Drive retail support and distribution center.

Giant Eagle officials demonstrated the new CNG technology by fueling passenger vehicles as well as one of the company's new delivery trucks at the area's first publicly accessible CNG fueling station.

"We are dedicated to doing business in the most sustainable manner possible across all of our business operations," said Giant Eagle Executive ice president and COO John Lucot. "Our efforts have been greatly advanced with the help of others and we give thanks to the local and state officials here today as well as to our allies at Volvo Trucks and EQT who partnered with us to make these facilities possible."

"This project delivers improved air quality for the region through emissions reductions, reduces dependence on traditional fuels and serves as a regional catalyst for southwestern Pennsylvania in adopting and understanding alternative fuels and clean transportation technology," he said.

According to the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles, CNG costs one-third less than gasoline or diesel. The compressed gas reportedly releases less particulate emissions by 94 percent, 75 percent less carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide emissions down by 49 percent and carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 25 percent.

Commercial CNG vehicles also run 50 percent quieter than diesel engines. Giant Eagle's 10 new CNG fleet vehicles will save 100,000 gallons of diesel fuel during the station's first year of operation alone.

"Until now, there have been no viable alternative fuel options for heavy-duty delivery trucks with the necessary level of power required to navigate the region's hilly and mountainous terrain," said Bill Parry, Giant Eagle vice president of Logistics. "To continue evolving our environmentally friendly fleet, Giant Eagle worked closely with Volvo to design the 10 new CNG vehicles here today with an 8.9 liter Cummins engine as the first of their kind in the commercial transportation industry."

Pennsylvania State officials hope to kickstart greater commercial and consumer adoption of fuel technology supporting Pennsylvania's in-state natural gas industry.

"We have a great opportunity now to create future jobs with a new industry right here in Western Pennsylvania," said Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato. "This is the first commercially viable CNG fueling station in southwestern Pennsylvania and we hope for many more to come."

"Pennsylvania should be a leader in CNG expansion, and CNG-powered vehicles can become a big part of Pennsylvania's clean air strategy," Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Krancer said. "Public-private partnerships like this one are helpful and can become a part of this effort, especially at this early stage. We should all look for opportunities for Pennsylvania to become a leader in the CNG fueling sector."

CNG is sold in gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs), with each GGE having the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline. Vehicles using CNG typically have similar fuel economy ratings to standard gasoline or diesel vehicles. Based on current market pricing, Giant Eagle expects to introduce the fuel to consumers for $1.90 to $2 per GGE. The self-service station for passenger vehicles will be open 24/7 and will accept major credit cards. First time users of CNG can watch a video of how to properly fuel their CNG powered vehicle right at the station.

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