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Company provides fuel on the go for CNG vehicles

CNG Logistics provides refueling services to help natural gas vehicles traverse areas without fueling infrastructure.
BY JAY F. MARKS jmarks@opubco.com Published: September 6, 2013
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It's getting easier to drive cross country in a vehicle fueled by compressed natural gas.

But some vehicles couldn't do it without Mark McConville.

McConville's CNG Logistics provides mobile refueling services. It is a collaboration with National Transfer, a company that pays drivers to take vehicles across the country.

McConville said there is strong demand for dedicated natural gas vehicles in California because of stringent air quality standards, but it isn't easy to get them there.

McConville's first gig, when he started his company about two years ago, was helping a CNG-fueled trash truck get to the Golden State from Alabama.

Trucks like that are well-suited for cheaper CNG, he said, because they get only about six miles a gallon.

One of the potential drawbacks of switching to an alternative fuel like CNG is finding fueling stations. McConville said “range anxiety” is magnified on cross-country trips, which is where he comes in.

McConville has a van equipped with four CNG tanks, which can hold a total of 80 gallons. He used it in 2010 when he drove his CNG-fueled 1966 Pontiac GTO along Route 66, from Santa Monica, Calif., to Chicago.

He needed to provide his own fuel along some legs of the trip because there were no public fueling stations available.

McConville said it is simple to transfer CNG from one high-pressure tank to another. Gas moves from the fuller tank to the emptier tank until the pressure equalizes.

“It's called equalizing,” he said. “The very best I can do is half a tank.”

McConville's service is needed because there aren't any CNG stations between Midland, Texas, and Tucson, Ariz.

“Once you leave Midland, there is a 600-mile gap,” he said.

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