CNG Rebate Program Deadline Extended

by Roby Brock (roby@talkbusiness.net) 16 views 

The Arkansas Energy Office (AEO) is extending the deadline for a rebate program that has had requests to convert 140 vehicles to use compressed natural gas.

The rebate program, first announced in August and funded by $2.2 million in federal stimulus funds, was originally only available to vehicle fleets but was expanded in late October include all Arkansas licensed vehicles eligible for conversion.

Rebates of 50% of the conversion cost or the incremental cost of purchasing new CNG vehicles will be given directly to the vehicle owner or fleet operators following the conversion to, or purchase of, compressed natural gas vehicles, according to the statement. Also, rebates cannot exceed $25,000, and to ensure rebates are available for multiple fleets, no single entity may receive more than 20% of the CNG rebate fund.

The AEO, a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, announced Thursday (Dec. 15) that rebate requests will now be accepted through Jan. 31, with the date to complete the conversions extended to April 30, 2012.

“We are finding more and more Arkansans are interested in converting to or purchasing a CNG vehicle,” Scott Hamilton, director of the Arkansas Energy Office, said in the statement. “Extending this deadline ensures each Arkansan interested in the program has time to apply and complete conversion.”

The gasoline equivalent cost of compressed natural gas is roughly $1.03 a gallon. Fuel mileage is equivalent. A CNG user buying 200 gallons of fuel a month will spend $206, while a gasoline vehicle owner with the same amount of fuel will spend — at $3.10 per gallon — $620. Annualized, that comes to a savings of $4,968. CNG proponents also claim that natural gas motors require less maintenance.

The AEO has recorded almost $800,000 in requests from 16 governments and businesses interested in converting 132 vehicles to use compressed natural gas. The office has received rebate requests from eight individuals totaling $40,357. About $1.3 million remains available through the program.

Governments and companies requesting the rebates and the request amounts are:
City of Atkins: 4 vehicles, $21,000
Pope County: 4 vehicles, $21,400
FFH Construction: 6 vehicles, $35,100
Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp.: 13 vehicles, $63,142
Centerpoint: 6 vehicles, $34,098
Central Arkansas Water: 5 vehicles, $10,300
Pressure Trucks: 14 vehicles, $142,400
Southwestern Energy: 29 vehicles, $139,210
ESS Transportation: 6 vehicles, $28,500
North Little Rock Waste Water: 1 vehicle, $5,250
Crafton Tull & Associates: 4 vehicles, $21,500
Eagle One Oilfield Transportation: 10 vehicles, $64,805
Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems: 4 vehicles, $27,322
Jeff Holland Plumbing: 1 vehicle, $5,683
AT&T: 15 vehicles, $110,625
City of North Little Rock: 10 vehicles, $60,000

Officials with Fort Smith-based FFH Construction said the conversion has been well worth it.

“We have seen a marked decrease in fuel consumption and cost, and really think the payback on our investment will be much sooner than anticipated,” noted a statement from FFH Construction.

Michael Tilley with our content partner, The City Wire, is the author of this report. He can be reached by e-mail at mtilley@thecitywire.com.

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