Chances are anyone looking for a free cup of coffee or bottle of water near the Republican National Convention this week also will get an earful about compressed natural gas.
Alternative fuel advocates from CNGnow.com are staffing a booth in the media area at the Tampa Convention Center, next door to the site of this week's GOP gathering.
Norman Herrera, director of market development at Chesapeake Energy Corp., said the convention is a good forum for CNG advocates, who are reaching out to delegates who aren't familiar with the alternative fuel.
Florida, which is hosting this year's convention, has only five CNG fueling stations, despite being the nation's second largest user of natural gas, Herrera said.
He said Florida gets about 62 percent of its electricity from natural gas, making it a “vibrant market” for CNG.
Herrera said CNG fits well with themes of energy independence, environmental protection and cost savings at this year's convention.
Advocates are talking to delegates about natural gas vehicle options, fueling stations and fleet conversions by companies like Chesapeake, AT&T and UPS at the CNGnow booth, which will be open until Thursday.
CNGnow is a collaborative effort by Chesapeake, the Pickens Plan, American Clean Skies Foundation, NGVAmerica, America's Natural Gas Alliance and American Gas Association.
Delegates also are being ferried to and from the airport on CNG-fueled shuttles, courtesy of America's Natural Gas Alliance.
“We are proud to have this opportunity to provide transportation to convention participants in Tampa and to give them a firsthand experience with natural gas vehicles,” said Regina Hopper, president of the alliance. “Companies and local leaders across the country are embracing natural gas as a fuel choice and calling for more vehicle options and filling stations to help drive this change.
“Our message in Tampa and beyond is that this is an extraordinary opportunity for our nation, and it's time to get on board with this American fuel choice.”