By Gary Lloyd
The opening of the compressed natural gas fueling station at the Chevron station on Deerfoot Parkway in Trussville has been delayed
The station was originally scheduled to open to the public Jan. 16 at 1 p.m. A ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled and was to be attended by several automobile dealership representatives, who were to bring their own CNG vehicles.
Mayor Gene Melton said the opening will be delayed approximately two to three weeks because the system still has some bugs to be worked out.
“It’s a unique system,” Melton said.
The Chevron station was chosen because of its close proximity to Interstate 59. The city’s Utilities Board made a $1.08 million loan to McCullough Oil Company to set up the CNG pump station. The Utilities Board will receive a share of the CNG sales until the loan is repaid.
The city has purchased or converted 32 Chevrolet Tahoe police vehicles, two fire vehicles, a dump truck and Honda Civic. Trussville Mayor Gene Melton has said that a domestic fuel source is less financially insecure than a foreign one. CNG vehicles can accumulate up to 15,000 miles between oil changes and require less maintenance than traditional fuel-burning vehicles, Melton said.
The gas is pressurized to 3,600 psi and in the event of a fuel tank breach, it simply dissipates rather than igniting. The pump connects much like a larger version of a tire pump and is air-tight. The pump constantly monitors the amount of fuel entering the vehicle and adjusts pressure accordingly.
The compression tanks that hold the CNG can fill 10 large city vehicles before running out. The pumps then shut off for about eight minutes until they automatically and completely refill.
Lee Weyhrich contributed to this story.