Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Calif. County Opens Public-Access CNG Station

October 12, 2015

County officials get ready to cut the ribbon for the new CNG fueling station. Photo courtesy of Santa Clara County
County officials get ready to cut the ribbon for the new CNG fueling station. Photo courtesy of Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County in California cut the ribbon for its public-access compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station at its Fleet Division in San Jose on Oct. 8. The $1.5 million project is a public-private partnership between the county and Trillium CNG, with $300,000 in offset funding from the California Energy Commission, according to a county release.

“Today’s opening of this compressed natural gas fueling station represents a chance to not only deploy alternative fuel vehicles for the county fleet, but also to make it easier for the public to choose environmentally friendly vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within this critical transportation corridor,” said Dave Cortese, County Santa Clara Board of Supervisors president.

The county entered in to a concessionaire agreement with Trillium for the management and operation of the fueling station, including fuel prices and collecting station revenues. In exchange, Trillium will compensate the county a flat fee of $3,000 per month for the term of the contract, plus $0.25 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) of CNG dispensed. Although total revenue will depend on the amount of CNG dispensed, the county estimates the revenue from concession payments would total $87,000 per year. 

The county has a ten-year operation and maintenance agreement with Trillium CNG and two five-year options to extend that contract. The CNG station has two dual-hose dispensers allowing two CNG vehicles to fuel at the same time.

The county has a goal reduce its greenhouse gas emission by 80% before 2050. This CNG fueling station will help the county to achieve at least 25% of its fleet as alternative fuel vehicles, saving at least $1.25 per GGE. The county expects to save a minimum of $7,500 per year in fuel costs within the first year of operation.

The county fleet includes heavy-duty, medium-, and light-duty vehicles. Initially the CNG buses operated by the Sheriff’s Office to transport inmates will be serviced at the fueling station. In the year ahead, the County will be adding CNG vans.

"This is good for our air quality and will also have positive economic benefits for all county residents,” said Dave Snow, deputy director, Facilities and Fleet Department. “The county will save on fuel costs and benefit financially from the fuel that is sold publicly. Everyone will benefit from cleaner air.”

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