Natural gas vehicle questions and answers


What are the advantages of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles?

Natural gas costs less than gasoline and diesel fuel. Consequently, consumers are investigating options to retrofit or convert cars or pick-up trucks to run on natural gas.

Are CNG fueling stations widely available?

The U.S. has about 1,000 CNG fueling locations, and more are being built. About half are open to the public. Others can be used only by opening an account or using a credit/proprietary billing card. Check fueling options before converting a vehicle to run on natural gas — or before purchasing one. You can find locations at these websites:
afdc.energy.gov/afdc/locator/stations/
cngprices.com

Can any vehicle be converted to run on CNG?

No. Only certain model vehicles have certified NGV conversions available. Get conversion availability information for your vehicle as well as cost and benefit details at ngvc.org.

Are new and used NGVs available to purchase?

Yes. However, only certain model vehicles have certified NGV conversions available. To check the availability of conversions for your vehicle or new vehicle NGV models go to ngvc.org.

What does conversion cost?

Cost ranges from $7,000 to $18,000, which includes the retrofit system, fuel tanks related tubing/brackets and installation. Converting a new vehicle provides the best opportunity to recover conversion cost because of the longer time for fuel cost savings. Only certain model vehicles have certified NGV conversions available. Check availability at ngvc.org.

Does We Energies operate natural gas vehicles or refueling stations?

We have some NGVs in our fleet. Some of our service centers have CNG stations, and most are open to the public. The stations are owned and operated by U.S. Oil. Locations

How does CNG price compare to gasoline?

Current CNG prices are available at cngprices.com. Prices are listed as gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE). GGE is the CNG amount that is equivalent to the energy in a gallon of regular gasoline.

Why do CNG prices seem unaffected by fluctuations in natural gas prices?

Natural gas is a minor component of CNG pricing. CNG prices also include cost of:

  • Installing and maintaining compressors, gas dryers, storage tanks, safety equipment and dispensers.
  • Electric energy used to compress gas to 4500 psi.
  • State and federal taxes.
  • Credit card fees.

Because CNG pricing includes multiple components, price volatility is reduced, though natural gas prices do have an impact as well.

Does the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin regulate retail CNG sales?

No. The PSCW does not regulate transportation fuels.

How do CNG refueling stations work?

Just drive up to the dispenser at any CNG station open to the public. Most are self-serve with no attendants. CNG refueling uses a connector for a tight, closed connection that is secured prior to fueling. This video demonstrates how to fuel an NGV:
youtube.com/watch?v=W8FkcG64Gtk&feature=youtu.be

How is payment made at a CNG station?

Most CNG stations allow public fueling with credit card and/or proprietary billing card access (full public access). Many CNG stations are located at convenience store fueling stations that take cash as well as major credit cards. Some stations allow public refueling only after an account has been opened (limited public access).

Where can NGVs be serviced or repaired?

Typically, contact a dealer or the manufacturer.

Why aren’t there more CNG stations in Wisconsin?

CNG makes up only 0.04 percent of the U.S. transportation fuel market. Because CNG stations are expensive to build, maintain and operate, growth is slow.

What are the costs for a CNG station? Are grants available?

Public access CNG stations may cost more than $700,000 to build. Grants have been available in the past to help fund public access CNG station installations. When available, grants in Wisconsin are made through Wisconsin Clean Cities, a local nonprofit alternative fuel organization, or Wisconsin State Energy office.

How is natural gas obtained by a CNG station owner?

If the station is located in our service area, we supply it. This map shows our natural gas service areas and major highway and transportation corridors: Map

Natural gas feeds to CNG compressors often require special handling. Contact our Customer Care Center at 800-714-7777 ext. 7700, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to help us meet your special natural gas supply needs, such as greater pressure and volume. We can assign a service manager to help you get the best pressure and flow for a proposed CNG station.

Is We Energies planning to install CNG stations?

We have no plans to install any CNG stations at this time. We are interested in supplying natural gas to customers who want to compress natural gas for use as a transportation fuel.

Is anyone else planning to install CNG stations?

Contact these organizations for more information on CNG infrastructure development:
Wisconsin Clean Cities
Wisconsin State Energy office

Can NGV refueling be done at home?

Equipment called a Phill unit can refuel an NGV at a home or business. The unit, which costs $4,000 to $5,000 installed, can fill one NGV car or small truck overnight. We do not sell, furnish or install this equipment.

Why are some CNG stations unreliable and take a long time to repair?

CNG stations take natural gas at about 10 pounds per square inch (psi), dry it, compress it in stages up to 4,500 psi, store it and then dispense it safely at 3000 to 3600 psi. Heat, pressure, vibration and age all take a toll on equipment and safety systems. Highly trained technicians maintain and repair the equipment, which can be hazardous because of the high-pressure gas.

Where is more information available on NGV and CNG?

National Gas Vehicles for America
Wisconsin Clean Cities
Wisconsin State Energy Office Natural Gas for Transportation
U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center