7-Eleven's experiment with compressed natural gas has been such a success that the company plans to offer the fuel at other locations.
“I can't identify the locations, but we're sufficiently encouraged to do more of it,” said Jim Brown, CEO of 7-Eleven Stores, which owns the 7-Eleven locations in the Oklahoma City area.
Just a few years ago, Brown was not convinced about the future of CNG.
“At the time we did it, we weren't excited about what we were seeing as far as consumer demand,” Brown said. “I wouldn't have anticipated that it would have been so well received here. But now that it has, we see an opportunity there, especially given the way the product is priced in the market.”
At 88.9 cents per gasoline gallon equivalent, the 7-Eleven in Moore is one of the least expensive, publicly available CNG locations in the country.
When 7-Eleven was relocating and expanding its store at SE 19 and S Eastern Avenue in Moore, the city of Moore asked Brown to consider adding CNG.
“They had converted a couple of vehicles and were in the process of converting others to CNG,” Brown said. “We've had a 50-year relationship with the city. They asked us to consider CNG. We had the space, so we got involved with Chesapeake (Energy Corp.) and learned as much as we could quickly. It's been pretty popular.”
The city did not help pay for the upgrade, but the expected CNG demand was enough to convince Brown to try it out.
“It was very difficult to make the decision on the first one,” he said. “The city of Moore stepped up to the plate, and we did our homework. It turned out to be a big thing.”