New Orleans East company says 'good-bye' to the gasoline pump

Published: Sep. 30, 2014 at 9:46 PM CDT
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Natural gas fueling hose
Natural gas fueling hose

The future has come to the Metro Service Group yard off Old Gentilly Road in Eastern New Orleans.

On Monday, the company cut the ribbon on its brand new compressed natural gas fueling station, which will power its fleet of 85 trucks. For the Woods family, which owns Metro, it's a $14 million investment.

"It's happening across the country," Jimmy Woods said. "We happen to be the first private fleet to do it in this market."

"We're in a game-changing situation with the United States having over a 200-year supply of natural gas," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, who joined in the ribbon-cutting.

The natural gas industry touts itself as a greener alternative to gasoline and diesel, a cleaner-burning fuel that offers about a 30 percent discount.

Although Woods is reluctant to talk hard numbers, natural gas generally offers a roughly $2 a gallon equivalent to gasoline.

For all the fanfare about electric vehicles, natural gas trucks already add up to a bigger substitute fuel.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that natural gas vehicles now displace 10 to 12 times more gasoline and diesel than the 250,000 electric cars on America's roadways.

"These trucks are time fill," explained Jeff Swertferger, director of marketing for TruStar Energy, which installed the station for Metro Service.

Swertferger says drivers park their trucks, usually at night, and simply "plug into a port on the side of the truck and walk off."

The refueling requires about four hours.

While Metro also tapped into state and federal tax credits to help foot the bill, Woods says it will take several years to recoup the investment.

"You gotta do it or go out of business at some point, in my opinion."

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