Cleaner air is coming to town with the opening of the city’s
compressed natural-gas fueling station -- cutting city gas costs, but
not yielding income for the city.
“We expect to save at least $10,000 [of $126,000 spent] on fuel
alone per year,” said Marisa Garcia, project manager for the city.
While the facility, which opened Thursday, is not a money-making
enterprise for the city, it is a way to promote the use of natural
gas-burning cars, Garcia said.
“The city gave up our royalties in order to control the price of
gas for its private fleet and [to encourage outside users],” Garcia
City and privately owned vehicles can fill up with the
cleaner-burning fuel, which sells for about $1.75 a gallon, though
prices will fluctuate with market rates.
Burbank has 25 natural gas vehicles, which is more than the state
requires, Garcia said. The only vehicles that the state requires to
be natural gas are larger ones like trash trucks. The city will add
almost 90 natural-gas cars to its fleet in the coming years.
“We want to help promote alternative fuels so that costs will go
down and we won’t be so reliant on foreign oil,” Garcia said.
The $800,000 station was paid for with $600,000 in state grants
and $200,000 from ENRG, the company that has a contract to operate
and maintain the station for 10 years.
“The station cost the city zero dollars to build,” Garcia said.
About 100 private vehicles, including private trash services,
shuttles and taxis, are expected to use the station regularly. While
natural-gas cars are available to the public, they are not as readily
available as electric-gas hybrids.
Resident Scott Shaffer, owner of City Cab, welcomes the opening of
the station. The drivers of his 100 natural-gas cars, about 25% of
his fleet, have been reliant on stations in Van Nuys and Glendale.
The Glendale station is frequently closed due to maintenance
problems, Shaffer said.
“We’re very excited because it’s been difficult to get the drivers
to use the cars,” Shaffer said. “I expect to buy more, given the gas
crisis. We can probably buy [natural gas] cheaper, and the drivers
are excited that it’s only five minutes away.”
Residents can use the station at 810 N. Lake St. anytime and can
fill their tanks by paying with a credit card. For more information
about the station, call 238-3905.