To prepare for its fleet conversion, Chesapeake officials worked with leading fuel retailers such as OnCue Express and Love's Travel Stops to add natural gas fueling stations to existing facilities in
In 2010, Chesapeake and its retail fuel partners opened 14 public CNG stations throughout Oklahoma, pushing the state's total to 42.
Chesapeake officials said they expect hundreds more stations to open nationwide in the next few years to support the transition to CNG by large fleet operators.
“Public CNG stations make it convenient for school districts, businesses, government and citizens to drive natural gas-powered vehicles and benefit from lower fuel prices,” said Tom Price, Chesapeake's senior vice president of corporate development and government
“Many local, state and federal leaders are recognizing the benefits of natural gas, and through close coordination with original equipment manufacturers, fuel retailers and heavy fuel consumers, we can assist American consumers and enable them to also realize the many benefits of CNG.”
Chesapeake will continue its fleet conversion in northern Texas and Louisiana, with plans to keep partnering with local fuel retailers to build CNG fueling stations, before turning its attention to its other operating areas in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Colorado, Wyoming and South Texas.
Change helps Okarche companies
OEM Systems Inc. handled all of the conversions for Chesapeake, officials said.
OEM is the sister company of Okarche's Carter Chevrolet Agency. General Manager John Luber said increased interest in compressed natural gas has allowed the two companies to increase their workforce by about 40 percent.
In the past, mainly commercial entities were interested in switching to CNG, but lately more people have been asking about the conversion process, Luber said.
“With the price of gasoline going up and up every day, there are more and more people getting on board,” he said.
OEM can convert up to 50 vehicles a week to run on CNG, Luber said.