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  • Refueling Station Density?

    I am curious about how many CNG fueling stations need to be in an urban area in order to convince large numbers of people to convert to CNG? Obviously gasoline prices and rebates will make a difference in this but let's assume that the payoff is reasonable and the main decision is convenience. Is one dispenser every 10 square miles enough? 5? What about exposure? I feel that the CNG filling stations need to be in very visible locations in order to bring about awareness. Most of the fuelins stations I have found are tucked away in very obscure locations.
    Bob Baldwin
    2009 Ford Focus Bi-Fuel
    2000 Ford F-150 Bi-Fuel

  • #2
    Re: Refueling Station Density?

    I have no reasonable answer for your question. To me it seems that substantial rebates and access for single occupancy in carpool lanes have been the driving force in So. Cal. After that reliable stations convenient to freeway on and off ramps. Saturation of stations comes after that.

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    • #3
      Re: Refueling Station Density?

      I believe one reason there in out of the way places is the pumps can be NOISY!

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      • #4
        Re: Refueling Station Density?

        CNGMike,

        Thanks for you input. It seems to me that if the cost of entry was the same, (i.e., I have two cars to choose from and they are the same price and performance). The only barrier now is convenience, accessibility, and cost of ownership. Without infrastructure, we will not get masses to convert to CNG. Without masses, we will not get infrastructure. However, we need to start somewhere. My goal is to get masses to convert all across Texas. I am looking for what it would take and leaders who will step forward with creative ideas to make it happen.

        If we were to get filling stations in convenient locations all over the main cities of Texas, how many would be enough? Let's take the city of Houston where I live now. Right now, we have two places to fill in Houston, a city of 3-4 million people within 25 miles of downtown. How many filling stations would it take in Houston to convince masses to start to switch over? I suspect it would take 20-30 filling stations in visible location just to get started. If gasoline goes to $10/gallon, we could have 200-300 stations in ten years just because of economics without rebates.

        Your thoughts?
        Bob Baldwin
        2009 Ford Focus Bi-Fuel
        2000 Ford F-150 Bi-Fuel

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Refueling Station Density?

          WellFedEd,

          Good point! I would think that we could put the compressors in sound barriers to allow them to be in well populated areas. I will be checking into that and how much extra the cost is to do that.
          Bob Baldwin
          2009 Ford Focus Bi-Fuel
          2000 Ford F-150 Bi-Fuel

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          • #6
            Re: Refueling Station Density?

            The compressors are plenty noisy too, I meant that sometimes the pumps themselves vibrate and set up a racket.

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            • #7
              Re: Refueling Station Density?

              You talking about the dispenser when a vehicle is being filled?
              Bob Baldwin
              2009 Ford Focus Bi-Fuel
              2000 Ford F-150 Bi-Fuel

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              • #8
                Re: Refueling Station Density?

                I meant the dispensers

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                • #9
                  Re: Refueling Station Density?

                  I don't see the dispenser noise being a problem in most gas station settings.

                  I think there is some issue with density. Personally I think 5 miles or so is decent. But, I also believe availability in regions or neighboring multi-regions (states) is also important.

                  We have pretty good infrastructure in So. California. But, I don't think I can drive to Phoniex.....

                  I have more then 1 vehicle available and consider the GX my "commuter car". For most road trips I have to take my other car. Many people do not have that ability.

                  Some people just have a difficulty dealing with something different and also with needing to monitor their fuel so closely - they just don't want to be bothered unless it is as easy as gasoline.

                  Honestly, the driving factor for me is car-pool lane access. The added benefits are using a domestic fuel and being cleaner than the much-touted hybrids.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Refueling Station Density?

                    I think the driving force for locating CNG dispensers is cheap (e.g. zero acquisition cost) land. Look where they are. Carved out of bus depots, city properties who make deals with CE, Gas Co. sites, etc.

                    A few exceptions -- the new dispenser in LA on La Cienega, part of a 76 station (compressor inside a steel enclosure probably reduces the noise a lot). There were a couple of dispensers at other gas stations years ago (Shell downtown and Chevron in Agoura), but the station owners let them die a slow death. And, of course, Taxicab Central near LAX is pretty visible.

                    I drove my 06 GX from Phoenix to Indio on a hot afternoon and had 2 bars left. But had my AAA Plus card just in case.

                    We bought our CNG cars for carpool lane access and lived with inconvenient filling until we got a home compressor. Since then another station has opened close to our house, but nothing beats 'plugging it in' at home, for both convenience and low cost.
                    02 GX
                    01 GX
                    03 Crown Vic
                    06 GX
                    Home Fueler

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                    • #11
                      Re: Refueling Station Density?

                      Very few CNG stations have been sited on land designated for a CNG station. There isn't a conscious decision to put them out of the way. However, they are almost all sited on municipal fleet facilities, which, due to land costs, ARE out of the way. The more recently built stations (and those planned) that have a public use option in from the beginning, are much more accessible.

                      With a bit more public interest in CNG, I think you will see a few more CNG stations at already established gas stations. However, they won't be at the ones in the middle of downtown, as the compressor yard takes up too much real estate.
                      1997 Factory Crown Victoria w/ extended tanks ~~ Clunkerized!
                      2000 Bi-Fuel Expedition --> ~~ Sold ~~ <--

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Refueling Station Density?

                        Speaking of Texas. I have a brother that is contracting with Dart. (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) He told me recently that Dart has 486 CNG busses on order. Evidently there is only one fueling station in the Dallas metroplex and that is not DARTs so there will be some major channges in that area of Tx.

                        If anyone has more info on the DART subject it would be much appreciated.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Refueling Station Density?

                          Just because they are buying busses, doens't mean anything wil change on teh public fueling front. For every public fueling station in SoCal, there are 2 private fleet slow-fill systems. Nearly every school bus fleet, and most garbage collection fleets in southern california are CNG, but many of them are not public many don't even HAVE a fast fill capability).
                          1997 Factory Crown Victoria w/ extended tanks ~~ Clunkerized!
                          2000 Bi-Fuel Expedition --> ~~ Sold ~~ <--

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Refueling Station Density?

                            One station I really enjoy is the Shell station near San Diego Airport.

                            To build this facilitiy along side an existing gas station they placed the compressor in a vacant service bay--and cut open the roof!

                            With its location very near the end of the airport runway, you can almost read the brand names on the passing jets' landing gear tires.

                            http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=3...=12,80.44,,1,5

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                            • #15
                              Re: Refueling Station Density?

                              If you want to compete with gasoline while there is only a modest price difference, then you need to offer at just about every gas station. People already experience the discomfort of having to refuel often. For a modest price difference that is already too much inconvenience for most people. If the price difference is significant then ofc some people will be willing to drive a few miles extra to reach a CNG station. A few stations in a city can then already convince them. Especially with the current state of the economy.

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