NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR --- The city of North Little Rock plans to convert four of its highest-polluting fleet vehicles to compressed natural gas, the Arkansas News reported. 

City officials expect to receive a $207,000 state grant to help pay for converting three refuse trucks and a street sweeper from diesel to compressed natural gas, Michael Drake, the city officer in charge of energy efficiency, told the newspaper. The grant, recommended for funding by the state Department of Environmental Quality, is still subject to legislative review, he said. 

Plans also include a CNG fueling station that would sell to the public. Drake said the city hopes to eventually convert its entire public works fleet to CNG. Not only is natural gas a clean-burning fuel, but it is produced in Arkansas, he said. 

"We want to lead by example," Drake added. 

City officials believe that building a public CNG station could bolster demand for the alternative fuel, first in Central Arkansas and later across the state, Drake said. Several Central Arkansas counties, a city and a state agency have expressed interest in using the fuel, he added. 

Today, just one CNG station in Arkansas sells to the public, according to the federal Department of Energy. Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Co.'s station in Fort Smith is open to the public three-and-a-half hours on weekdays and accepts cash only, the Arkansas News reported. 

Little Rock National Airport's CNG fueling station is private, as are a CNG station in Fort Smith, one in Ozark and one near Hot Springs. North Little Rock's station will accept credit cards and operate 24 hours daily, Drake said.