Rick Koch, CEO of RKO ASAP Energy, announced today that his company now offers Compressed Natural Gas for vehicles at its Fast Lane Travel Plaza located at 1401 N Airport Rd in Weatherford, OK. Customers can now refuel their CNG vehicles while enjoying all the convenient shopping and dining opportunities offered by the store.
“We are very pleased the CNG installation went according to plan and on schedule,” stated Koch. “I believe this CNG station will be a great convenience and opportunity for our customers with CNG vehicles, as they can refuel quickly, pick up any food and beverage items they need, and have all the service offered by a fully-staffed store near I-40.”
Customers have already begun refueling their vehicles and are pleased with the convenience, service, and quality of operations. “I really appreciate having the opportunity to get a receipt in the store should I need to,” stated one customer. Dispensers for the new CNG facility are fully integrated with the retail store operations, offering customers the opportunity to use major credit cards, fleet service cards, obtain purchase documentation, or receive other assistance from the trained employees.
Another customer who was among the first five to fill their CNG tank remarked about the speed with which he was able to fully refuel. “Our goal was be sure the system provided enough pressure and volume to refuel a vehicle in a similar time as a gasoline or diesel customer. And I’m pleased to say we accomplished this,” said Royce Ramey, project manager. “There are several types of refueling systems that can take anywhere from all night to just a few minutes to refuel a vehicle. Our design is among the fastest refueling times in Oklahoma, thanks to our proximity to large pipelines of natural gas nearby.”
Other amenities offered by the Fast Lane CNG Station are: fully lighted and covered canopy over the entire operation, state-of-the-art dispensers, and the ability to accept all major credit cards and fleet fuel cards. This is in addition to the Fast Lane Travel Plaza’s existing extensive list of shopping and services already offered. The Fast Lane Travel Plaza offers hot and cold beverages, ice by the bags, convenient grocery items, a menu of hot foods prepared to order, a fully-stocked line of truck and travel accessories, and western Oklahoma’s best inventory of CB radios and accessories. Services offered by the Fast Lane Travel Plaza include clean restrooms, showers, large truck parking, truck scales, and ATM facilities.
CNG joins a full line of gasoline and diesel products presently being offered to automotive and truck customers. “In the near future, we will be adding DEF, Diesel Exhaust Fluid, at the diesel dispensing islands,” added Koch. “All of this provides our customer with a complete refueling experience, and it makes us a preferred stop for travelers on I-40.”
Rick Koch, CEO of RKO ASAP Energy, announced today the company’s plan to add Compressed Natural Gas vehicle refueling to its Fast Lane Truck Plaza located on North Airport Road in Weatherford, OK. Customers with vehicles that have been converted to use Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, will enjoy the ability to fill their tanks at the station in the near future.
“Since I grew up here in western Oklahoma, I know how important the natural gas industry is to our economy. I am delighted to see several companies in this area converting their fleet vehicles to this natural resource,” stated Koch. “As more companies convert their vehicles to clean, efficient natural gas, I want my stores to offer them the same convenience as our gasoline and diesel customers.”
Royce Ramey is project manager of the CNG installation, the first of its kind for RKO ASAP Energy. “Essentially, CNG is the same gas as is used to heat our homes, but in a vehicle it needs to be compressed to allow for a greater amount to be carried on board the vehicle,” stated Ramey in a recent interview. “The goal of our design specifications is to make refueling as convenient and quick as filling a gasoline or diesel vehicle. This is known as a quick-fill dispensing station.” Ramey said the installation of the dispensers should be complete by the end of this year.
In a recent interview with Brian Lohman, RKO Area Retail Manager, Lohman stated, “I am definitely excited about the opportunity we will have to serve the CNG customers. Not only can they refuel conveniently, but they can also take advantage of the many other items we offer in the retail store.” Lohman oversees the merchandising operation at the Fast Lane Truck Plaza. “Instead of just refueling, the CNG customer will be able to purchase drinks, food, and other convenience items in our store all at one time. For some of the CNG vehicle drivers, I know it is important to get them what they need and back in service as quickly as possible.”
According to John Luber, of Carter Chevrolet Agency and OEM Systems in Okarche, OK, a vehicle conversion installed by an EPA-certified company costs about $10,000. Luber is General Manager of the EPA-certified installation company. “If your vehicle gets 15 miles per gallon on gasoline, then you can expect to get roughly the same MPG with CNG,” Luber said.
CNG prices do not vary as much as the price of gasoline or diesel, according to Koch, and recent pricing of CNG was about $1.39 per GGE, gasoline gallon equivalent. With gasoline prices in this area hovering over $3.50 per gallon, CNG represents a 60% decrease in fuel cost. Presently, the Honda Civic can be purchased as a CNG vehicle from the manufacturer for about $25,000. At its advertised 28 mpg combined rating, a consumer that drives 15,000 miles per year would save over $1,200 in fuel costs alone. But CNG in the United States is mostly used in public transportation and light to medium duty trucks that do not achieve such high MPG ratings as the Honda. For the work truck or farm vehicle, the fuel cost savings are much higher.
“Not only is CNG more economic,” said Koch, “but it also burns cleaner than gas or diesel and benefits us all here in western Oklahoma.” According to the US Department of Energy, CNG vehicles produce 60-90% less smog producing pollutants and 30-40% less greenhouse gases. Additionally, 87% of natural gas consumed in the United States is produced in the Unites States. As all local residents know, a good deal of that gas produced in the United States is produced here in Oklahoma, particularly western Oklahoma.
If the reasons for converting to CNG described above were not enough,
several government incentives for CNG vehicles are in place in
Oklahoma. For example, Oklahoma offers a 50% tax credit on the incremental cost of purchasing or converting to a CNG vehicle. Also
the Oklahoma legislature intends to increase the CNG fueling
infrastructure in the state, with the overall goal of having one public
fueling station located every 100 miles along the interstate highway
system by 2015, and one public fueling station every 50 miles by 2025. “I supported these tax incentives,” stated local Oklahoma State Representative Harold
Wright of Weatherford, “to create demand for natural gas. It just makes sense for us to support the production, distribution, and sale of natural gas. It helps Oklahoma, the Oklahoma economy, and nationally, it allows us to be more independent of foreign oil interests.” Wright anticipates the use of CNG will increase as CNG dispensers like the one at Fast Lane Truck Plaza become more prevalent.
For more information about CNG vehicles, the public can access http://www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/vehicles/natural_gas.html or http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/bifueltech.shtml
“CNG is definitely the fuel for our future, and at RKO, we want our customers to have it today,” said Koch.