NORMAN — The city marked the grand opening of its compressed natural gas fueling station Friday with praise for the public works department that made it happen, a ribbon-cutting, tours and a free lunch.
“Norman gets it,” said John Johnson, executive director of the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments. “Norman understands energy savings and energy security.”
The fueling station is the first city-owned compressed natural gas station in the state to open to the public, he said.
The city also has the state's first city-owned CNG-fueled trash trucks and industrial lawn mower and soon will have the first compressed natural gas-powered street sweeper, he said.
“This city has really strong players who were ready at the point of attack or you wouldn't have this,” Johnson said.
Johnson was referring to the city's quick action in applying for federal stimulus grants in 2010 and again in 2012 to fund, in phases, construction of the $2.1 million station at 2351 Goddard Ave.
The station has 20 dual post slow-fill dispensers allowing up to 40 city vehicles to fill overnight; a fast-fill element that fuels four vehicles simultaneously in minutes; and a fueling station for the public open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Members of the public can buy fuel for $1.70 per gallon.
The fueling station will save the city $850,000 to $1.2 million in fuel costs over the next five years, said Public Works Director Shawn O'Leary. The savings will climb even higher as the city adds more CNG-fueled vehicles to its fleet, he said.