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  • Cheap Utah prices

    Can anybody tell me why all your stations in Utah are $0.64 GGE while in California we pay nearly quadruple? I know we usually pay more for energy in california but 4X is ridiculous. I'd be happy with prices double that of Utah.

  • #2
    Re: Cheap Utah prices

    We have only one gas company (Questar Gas). Questar owns their own wells, piping, fueling stations, etc. Questar owns all the public fueling stations in Utah and SW Wyoming. Since Questar is a monopoly in the natural gas supplier industry, their prices are controlled by the Public Service Committee (PSC). Questar can petition a price change (up or down), but at the end of the day, the PSC determines the price. Questar only makes about 10% profit on natural gas going into a home. The federal government also has a 50 cent per GGE tax credit available to the gas supplier or gas station owner for dispensing CNG to vehicles. Since Questar owns the natural gas and CNG pumps, they claim that tax credit but pass on about 32 cents per GGE onto the consumer. My undrestanding is that there is little to no road tax on the CNG at the pump. Utah CNG vehicle owners are "encouraged" to purchase a Clean Fuel Vehicle Certificate from the state for $82 annually. This certificate is to offset the cost of road tax on the fuel. With this certificate and the Clean Fuel - Clean Vehicle license plate you can drive single in the HOV lane and park for free in downtown Salt Lake City.

    I think I have pretty much covered it. If I have missed anything, please someone fill it in.
    Mountain Green, Utah
    2003 CNG Cavalier
    2003 CNG Silverado 2500HD


    • #3
      Re: Cheap Utah prices

      Great summary Highmarker.

      As clarification, Questar does pay the 18 cent / gge federal road tax, this is why we don't get the full 50 cent tax credit at the pump, just the difference (32 cents). The state does not collect road taxes at CNG pumps, hence the more-expensive "clean fuel" license plates to try and offset the lost revenue.

      Note that Oklahoma is a similar situation, where the local gas company owns the wells, infrastructure, and the pumps. Hence 93 cents or so there.

      My understanding is that SoCal Gas used to be the dominant provider of CNG stations, with very reasonable pricing, but they came under some legal pressure to end its monopoly, so ended up selling them off to Clean Energy.

      Now the good news is they seem to be investing again into this area, so you might have some price relief on the horizon:


      • #4
        Re: Cheap Utah prices

        Thanks for the explanation. SoCal gas only owns a tiny percentage of their own wells here in California, most of their gas comes from oil producers and probably imported from less populated states.

        It seems like Utah has hit the trifecta in terms of encouraging these vehicles-A PSC that keeps a monopoly's prices in check, tax incentives, and HOV access. We have the latter two in California but unfortunately its that $.63/gge that would have people buying natural gas vehicles in hoards


        • #5
          Re: Cheap Utah prices

          It's close to $1/gge at home and still almost no one knows about it. The price isn't the issue -- the lack of media attention, and the confusion they create when they do write an article (the recent OCR article being an exception).
          02 GX
          01 GX
          03 Crown Vic
          06 GX
          Home Fueler


          • #6
            Re: Cheap Utah prices

            Growing up, I learned early to go with the best I had until something else better came along. It has served me well and I suggest here that it would also serve our country today.
            There are many polarized groups pushing different agendas on the alternative fuel debate, but herein I would recommend the proposition sited above; why not use the best fuel sources we have now until we develop something better? At this point hydrogen power, cold fusion and some other proposed fuel sources rank up there with Santa Claus for me. I want to believe, but before we stake all our hopes on these possibilities, shouldn’t we use the best option we have available now? In economics decision-making, this process is called satisficing. It explains the tendency to select the first option that meets a given need, or select the option that addresses most of the needs, rather than wait for the “optimal” solution.
            1) CNG is SAFER THAN GASOLINE, according to a University of Utah chemistry professor. Natural gas and natural gas vehicles have a stellar safety record which is based upon two facts:
            a. The physical properties of natural gas make it safer than most other fuels.
            b. The fuel systems designed for natural gas vehicles are built to stringent standards.
            Physical Properties: Yes, natural gas is a safer fuel than either gasoline or diesel. It has a limited range of flammability, meaning it requires the correct mixture of air and fuel to burn - somewhere in the 5 to 15 percent range, and an ignition temperature of approximately 1100 degrees F. Compare that to gasoline and diesel fuel which both have lower concentrations of flammability and lower temperatures of ignition.
            Fuel System: Natural gas vehicles have all the same standard safety equipment as conventional cars (seat belts, air bags, etc.), but they are subjected to the same crash safety tests as well.
            The tanks are made of steel up to one half-inch thick and often wrapped in protective reinforced fiberglass sheathing. Plus, newer tanks are constructed of polymers and composites that are stronger than steel.
            Contrast this with standard gasoline and diesel tanks in regular vehicles that are usually made from stamped steel shell halves, just a few sixteenths of an inch thick, that are welded or crimped together
            2)We have a distribution system already in place that is 1000 times more extensive than that used for petroleum products. Mega tanker ships transport oil from the Middle East. Tanker trucks transport 99% of the gasoline and diesel fuel that we consume at the pump. That itself contributes 22%+ to the price we pay at the pump, not to mention the danger. Has anyone forgotten the Valdez? If a CNG ship had split open the gas would have simply dissipated into the atmosphere rather than pollute the oceans of our planet. Every day tanker trucks travel our roads delivering various types of petroleum products.
            Therefore, CNG poses no direct threat to land or water contamination in case of a leak.
            3) CNG is a LOW COST FUEL or should be. In Utah, as of 10/31/07, CNG is $.64 a gallon statewide; yes, that's 64 cents! In many other states CNG is as high as $2.75 a gallon. Utah, Oklahoma and a couple of other states regulate their natural gas. If Utah were not regulated, we also would be paying that much. In the past 20 years a few petroleum companies have gone around the country and bought up most of the natural gas suppliers and distributors, in effect, destroying competition.
            The federal government currently allows a $.50 per gallon tax credit to all states dispensing CNG for vehicles. From the pricing differences, it’s easy to recognize which states are grabbing that money for themselves and which suppliers are gouging the consumer.
            Now, consider your ECON 101 class you took. Remember supply and demand effects. If we have a product with an over abundance (high), with a demand that at this point is almost nil (low), what would you expect the price to be? Low. So if it is not, some thing or some one is manipulating it.
            4) REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCE on FOREIGN OIL NOW. Many politicians talk about reducing dependence but what are they doing about it TODAY? It’s a no-brainer! CNG is a domestic fuel. Over 85% of the natural gas used in the USA comes from sources in the USA. Over 85% of the gasoline used in the USA comes from foreign sources. Could we do it today – no. Could we do something about it today – YES! All diesel machines could be adapted to dual fuel systems easily. The engine will run on a fixture of 20% diesel and 80% CNG.
            5) LOWER MAINTENANCE Not only is CNG cheaper but also when used in vehicles, the engines last 2 to 3 times longer and oil only needs to be changed every 10,000 miles, unlike gasoline engines that require oil be changed every 3,000 miles. Mechanics with Questar say that vehicles that use CNG still look new, at 200,000 miles. Vehicles with 300,000 miles that run CNG are not unusual.
            Dedicated CNG vehicles are designed to run only on natural gas, there are also bi-fuel vehicles—they make the best of both worlds and have two separate fueling systems.
            6) CNG is a RENEWABLE RESOURCE Natural gas is made up of 3 gases; one of which is methane. Natural Gas is referred to as a fossil fuel because it's usually present at locations of oil drilling or coal mining but it is composed of about 90% methane that is created from the anaerobic decomposition of organic material and also occurs naturally deep in the earth and throughout the solar system. CNG is also130 octane, if there is ever a question about performance. Racing fuels are about 110 octane. The octane in regular gasoline that most cars run on is only 85 to 87. Ethanol, on the other hand, has very poor performance and requires MORE energy to produce it than it gives out. If that isn’t bad enough, do you want to guess what fuel they use to heat the corn to produce ethanol? Yep, natural gas. Add that to the fact that by using our corn reserves to produce fuel we lose our bargaining chip with other countries to help feed their starving populations. “ Farm lobby?”
            7) NATURAL GAS IS PLENTIFUL The planet’s current reservoirs of known natural gas are enough to supply the earth’s energy needs for the next 150 years. Canada itself has enough to supply the planets energy needs for the next 50 years. The North Atlantic Ocean, Israel and Russia have vast supplies of untapped natural gas. Plus it is renewable (see 6,8,9 &10).
            8) CLEAN AIR: Help reduce pollution & smog. Go Green, Drive Clean! Next to the electric car, CNG is the next least polluting fuel. Natural gas it is not made from petroleum, as gasoline and diesel are, it has no hydrocarbons, thus no carbon monoxide. Its simple, one carbon, molecular structure (CH4) makes possible its nearly complete combustion. It only produces carbon dioxide. In general, carbon dioxide is exhaled by animals and utilized by plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas because it absorbs in the infrared range, and because of its atmospheric lifetime. So why do some states, including Utah, require a vehicle emissions inspection on CNG vehicles?……… $
            9) Why not Use it Before it Becomes a Threat? According to the History Channel, one of the Mega Disasters that hangs over our planet is global warming’s effect on methane deposits on the sea floor close to the artic polar ice cap. Those pockets could bubble to the surface and provide a flammable atmosphere in the future. Scientists have proposed drilling into that deposit to tap into the fuels there, but they are meeting opposition from those that feel any alteration to our planet is bad. The History Channel sights known methane deposits on planet earth to be about 20,000 million tons. That’s two to three times that of the known reserves of petroleum and more being produced every minute by nature. Why not reduce the threat? USE IT!
            We have a choice; it just isn’t being offered.
            Recommendations and solutions:
            a - Term Limits on all federal and state elected officials
            b – Lobbyist contributions and entertainment Limits
            c - The federal government and states mandate that all public transportation, i.e. buses, trains, taxis, local delivery vehicles and government fleets, be run on an alternative fuel.
            d – All commercial diesels to augment CNG to 10% by 2011
            e - All natural gas companies should be regulated a public service commission.
            f – Re-instate the 1993 Clean Air Act WITH teeth
            g – Mandate that all US auto manufactures offer a dedicated CNG vehicle by 2011
            h – The problem for the most part is not Utah, it’s the other states that don’t even have one CNG station and the federal governments lack of leadership.
            i - The EPA needs to loosen up! It has made it so expensive to test and get approved. It cost the Manufacturers $300-$400 thousand to get one system approved. They need to ask “why not” rather than “why” approve a system. They can always change their minds. What a concept!
            j – Call and support the Utah Division of Air Quality and our state officials, they are the ones that are putting UTAH on the cutting edge and making a difference.
            k - Above I mentioned the petroleum industry as one of the groups that has a vested interest in seeing any efforts to make CNG available and competitive fail. Hold them accountable. End the monopoly.
            l - Put all US petroleum companies under the immediate control of federal or state public service commissions.
            m - The EPA is a bureaucratic mess. In short, they have made it too expensive to get the EPA approval which currently sets qualifications for the federal tax credit. Rein them back.
            n - Allow the immediate production of any CNG vehicle that was being produced from 2000 to 2005.


            • #7
              Re: Cheap Utah prices

              Just filled up in Fillmore yesterday for $7.15 for 11 gallons. The 22 degree temp yesterday had me waiting in the car though. Burrr. I'm from Arizona what do you expect. During my drive to SLC I was only able to stop at this station. I was shocked not to see the 63 cents per gallon posted along side the $3/gallon gasoline board. Are all CNG stations in UT like this. Why would they not want to post it. I know Questar can't advertise because of their monopoly on CNG stations. When asking which pump was 3600 psi I was not shock to hear the attendant knew absolutely nothing about the NG pumps. Both pumps by the way are 3000 psi.

              2003 Hummer H2 bi-fuel
              2000 GMC Yukon XL bi-fuel
              1999 International 4700 dual-fuel
              2007 Chevy Avalanche bi-fuel

              FMQ2-36 Fuelmaker w/ 24 GGE cascade


              • #8
                Re: Cheap Utah prices

                Hi Murph, hope you are enjoying our nice balmy weather up here

                CNG prices are posted at a few pumps in Utah. If you stopped on the way up in Springville at the Flying J for example. The Phillips 66 station in West Jordan also posts the price. But you are right, if we could have a station with a pricing sign visible from I-15 anywhere along the Wasatch Front along with a CNG Motors lot next door, you would be able to retire in a few years


                • #9
                  Re: Cheap Utah prices

                  It really is amazing in Utah with the prices/gge, HOV lanes, and free parking downtown that more people do not know about CNG vehicles. Questar doesn't really care how much they sell since they don't (can't) make much money off sales and have the pumps mainly for their fleet, Ken Garff Honda just looks at the vehicles for fleet sales so doesn't advertise.... When I explain the benefits of owning a CNG vehicle here in Utah - people just give me a blank look and ask "so what's the catch"? grrrrrrr.



                  • #10
                    Re: Cheap Utah prices

                    I find it interesting that people just dont seem to get it. I have a friend who is really 'green'. At dinner last night, I told him I just got a CNG car. His first comment to me was, what is the range. I told him 200 miles and he said, You cant get very far and it is harder to find a place to fill up.

                    I asked him how many 200 mile trips a day he takes.

                    That being said, looking forward to the day I move back to Utah to enjoy cheap CNG.


                    • #11
                      Re: Cheap Utah prices

                      I find it interesting that people just dont seem to get it.
                      I have noticed the same thing and they don't seem to want to "get it" either. Most comments are critical and they show little interest even when you refute them.
                      Today, I was at a party discussing NGV Civics with the guy who "converted" me when a naysayer blurted out "Yea, but what kind of mileage do you get!" He shut right up when I told him 38 HWY 28 City but that was it, no follow up questions or interest.



                      • #12
                        Re: Cheap Utah prices

                        I guess it should go to show you just how most people resist even the simplest change, even if it could save them thousands of $$$. Look how long it took to get people on the hybrid train, and thats a technology that doesn't require you to research where your fuel is located or install an appliance in your home, or learn how to attach a CNG filling nozzle (because it takes a rocket scientist right!) All I can figure is that even though 99% of most peoples trips are <200 miles, they still want that freedom to be able to get in their cars and drive across the continent.


                        • #13
                          Re: Cheap Utah prices

                          Just heard it on the news this morning...

                          Questar is requesting a 7% increase in natural gas prices. If the PSC passes this, it won't take effect until August 2008. Below is the link.

                          First it was power, and now it's heat. Questar Gas is asking the Utah Public Service Commission for a rate increase.
                          Mountain Green, Utah
                          2003 CNG Cavalier
                          2003 CNG Silverado 2500HD


                          • #14
                            Re: Cheap Utah prices

                            Guess I had better hold on to the "73 cent" stickers I still have laying around


                            • #15
                              Re: Cheap Utah prices

                              If it was not so cold in the winter we might think about retiring to UTAH.