Between high pollution levels due to carbon emission and the desire to reduce driving and refueling costs, drivers are searching for a cheaper, lower impact alternative.
And companies are answering.
More car companies are rolling out electric vehicles. Now cars that were once luxury vehicles for the ultra rich are more affordable.
But with electric vehicles, there's still the issue of a limited range and a lengthy recharge time.
So consumers and companies alike have begun to eye another industry.
It's no secret that domestic natural gas is abundant. And it's cheap, too—much cheaper than standard gasoline, which is dependent on foreign oil sources.
It's true that it hasn't quite caught on in passenger vehicles. Customers won't buy the cars because there are so few refueling stations, fuel companies won't build the refueling stations because there is no demand, and manufacturers won't make the cars because customers won't buy them. It's a vicious cycle.
But recently state governors led by Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and John Hickenlooper of Colorado have started an initiative to create incentives for car companies to produce natural gas-powered vehicles for state fleets.
And if manufacturers have the incentives, all customers need is the infrastructure.
And that's where Clean Energy comes in.
Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) designs, builds, and operates natural gas fueling stations across the United States. The company provides compressed natural gas (CNG) for light and medium natural gas vehicles and liquefied natural gas for heavy duty vehicles.
With natural gas fueling stations in operation and access to natural gas and production plants, the company has only just started to develop its fueling stations.
This year the company released a report titled “America's Natural Gas Highway: The Clean Energy Solution,” which outlined its plan to build 150 natural gas fueling stations across the nation, with 70 across 33 states to be finished by the end of this year and the remaining 80 complete in 2013.
Clean Energy raised $450 million last year from investors, Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK), and co-founder T. Boone Pickens.
The stations will be for industrial fleets like trucks, and the majority are designated for Pilot-Flying J Travel Centers.
Today, the company expanded on this project in the release of “The Road to Natural Gas.” The report consists of a list of companies with which Clean Energy has signed or expanded upon agreements for the fueling stations.
Among the companies listed are trucking companies, airports, and municipalities, like the central California trucking fleet for Land O' Lakes Inc., or the New York City Ford Transit Connects.
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The report also lists completed fueling stations announced in the “America's Natural Gas Highway” report. Nineteen have been completed across Texas, Alabama, Tennessee, Illinois, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, California, and Kansas.
From the press release:
“After working on developing the natural gas fueling market for 15 years, it's very gratifying to see all the pieces come together,” said Andrew J. Littlefair, Clean Energy's CEO and president. “There are natural gas engines now available for more vehicle classes, the U.S. has an abundant supply of cheap natural gas and there is a greater understanding of the economic and environmental benefits of using natural gas as a transportation fuel.”
Clean Energy's success with natural gas fueling stations is nowhere near its peak. As its effort to build up natural gas refueling infrastructure continues, more cities and companies are finding their fleets could benefit from the low prices and domestic abundance too.
That's all for now,
Clean Energy Drives Natural Gas Fueling originally appeared in Energy and Capital. Energy and Capital, a free daily newsletter, offers practical investment analysis in the new energy economy.