CASS TOWNSHIP -- Pennsylvania continues to move forward in the natural gas industry and now another county hopes to use the energy source to save money and bring jobs to the area.
Companies at an industrial park near Minersville celebrated Earth Day at a compressed natural gas service station that opened in January. The owners thought that Earth Day would be a great day to show the public how it all works.
A tractor trailer filled up at the first compressed natural gas service station in Schuylkill County. This Trillium CNG station at the Highridge Industrial Park near Minersville was funded by taxpayer dollars and state grants. It cost about $1 million and now 23 tractor trailers will run on natural gas instead of diesel fuel. Experts say this fueling station alone will reduce more than a million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.
"That's equivalent to about 24,000 propane cylinders that people would use for their home barbeques," said Drew Cullen at Penske Truck Leasing.
Companies like Wegmans, Lowe's, Penske Trucking, and NFI Distribution all added new natural gas trucks to their fleets in Schuylkill County.
"Social responsibility, along with fuel economy, we're looking at carbon emissions and reduction and just doing the right thing for the economy and the country," said Bill Bliem, NFI Distribution.
The companies involved say they hope the 23 tractor trailers are just the beginning.
"We're fueling 40, 50 trucks a day and we're looking for others in the industrial park to continue to expand on that."
Because much of this station and these vehicles were paid for by state grants, those in the natural gas industry say this will actually help businesses not only stay here, but thrive in Schuylkill County, too.
"If we build the infrastructure, that gives them a competitive advantage for them to cite and keep their business and for others to cite their business," said Charles Koontz, Trillium CNG.
Trillium CNG, the company that opened the CNG station near Minersville, says it hopes to open even more stations across Pennsylvania.