City workers haven't noticed much of a change when climbing behind the wheels of vehicles powered by a new fuel.
Dublin converted 44 fleet vehicles to burn compressed natural gas, or CNG, instead of gasoline prior to the upcoming opening June 28 of its CNG fueling facility at 6351 Shier-Rings Road to save both money and lessen the city's environmental footprint.
Before CNG fueling stations were certified for use last week, Dublin employees filled up at IGS Energy.
"It's got as much get up and go as other vehicles," said J. Darryl Syler, city fleet manager.
The vehicles might operate the same, but they're not putting out the amount of emissions they were when gas-powered, Syler said.
"They burn cleaner. There's a 70- to 90-percent reduction in NOx (mono-nitrogen oxides)," he said. "It's cheap and here in our own back yard."
"It's domestic, abundant and cheap," said Sue Burness, city public affairs officer.
The city expects to see $25,000 to $30,000 in fuel savings annually. Syler said the CNG equivalent of a gallon of gasoline costs about $1.99 right now.
"It costs so much to process gasoline and diesel for vehicles," Syler said. "This is raw, natural gas we're putting in. You can cut out the processing fees that you have with gasoline."
But Dublin won't be the only ones to benefit from the new CNG fueling facility. As part of their partnership with IGS Engery, the public, businesses and other entities can use the new facility.
"If a fast food company or mom-and-pop carpet cleaning company converted their vehicles, they would just go to IGS Energy," Syler said, adding that IGS Energy would establish an account and give them a card that would allow access to Dublin's new fueling stations.
Burness said she's heard from residents expressing interest on where to purchase CNG-fueled cars or how to convert them.
"There are a few residents that have (CNG-fueled) cars," Syler said. "I've seen them fueling at IGS (Energy)."
Through a shared-services agreement with other cities in central Ohio, Columbus fleet vehicles can use Dublin's fueling facility when they're on the north side and need to fill up, Syler said.
"Right now no one else has converted their equipment yet, just the city of Dublin and Columbus," Syler said of local municipalities.
"They could purchase gas from us and don't have to build their own infrastructure."
The Dublin City School District also has the option to use CNG fueling. Syler said they can bring buses to be fueled at the new facility or build their own.
"We built a natural gas line to the fence for Dublin City Schools," he said of the neighboring school transportation facility. "They could do an overnight fill for the buses."
Although the CNG fueling stations look like regular gasoline pumps, fueling is a little different.
All city staff using the fueling stations will go through training and IGS Energy has a video for others.
As for the facility, Syler said city staff has been trained by ANGI, the company that installed the fueling system on the ins and outs.
The entire project cost about $3 million, but Dublin received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and Clean Fuels Ohio.
IGS Energy, which provides CNG to the facility, also provided $275,000 for the project.
The CNG fueling facility's grand opening and dedication is set for 10 a.m. June 28 at the Dublin Division of Fleet, 6351 Shier-Rings Road.
Mayor Tim Lecklider will be on hand, in addition to Scott White, president of IGS Energy and representatives from Clean Fuel Ohio and the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities.
Following the dedication, a CNG lunch and learn will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Dublin Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road. The event will include lunch and a panel of speakers talking about CNG.
To register for the opening, go online at eventbrite.com/event/3704068970. To register for the lunch panel contact Travis Dent at 614-659-5132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.