University of Wyoming Extension has received a $13,000 grant from Encana Oil & Gas (USA) Inc. to convert a 2012 Ford F-150 to a bi-fuel vehicle, which uses compressed natural gas (CNG) or gasoline.
“Natural gas used for transportation is clean – producing less emissions than gasoline – is safe and reliable, is largely abundant and at current prices CNG costs up to $2 less per gallon than gasoline,” said Randy Teeuwen, Encana USA community relations advisor. “And, they have the same mileage and power as gas vehicles.”
He said Encana has converted 14 percent of its Wyoming fleet to CNG, with plans to convert it entirely within about three years.
“We are focused on supporting natural gas as a transportation fuel of choice, and we are happy to provide this conversion for UW Extension,” he said.
The vehicle, owned by extension, will be used by an associate director and be visible statewide but will spend the most time around Laramie, along the I-80 corridor, in western Wyoming such as Sweetwater, Fremont, Big Horn counties and areas east of the Idaho/Utah border, said Glen Whipple, director of UW Extension.
“Natural gas is a plentiful fuel with great potential to reduce the nation’s reliance on imported oil,” said Whipple. “It makes sense that Wyoming, a state where natural gas production is a critical economic contributor, would be a leader in the use of CNG as a motor fuel.”
UW Extension has offices staffed with educators and specialists on the UW campus, in all 23 Wyoming counties and the Wind River Indian Reservation, all who do a significant amount of travel, said Whipple.
Extension maintains a fleet of 31 trucks, SUVs and sedans.
“The conversion will allow us to test and evaluate the possible cost savings and efficiencies for CNG-capable vehicles in our fleet,” said Whipple. “With CNG fueling stations either in service or planned throughout Wyoming in the near future, the time is right to put a CNG-capable vehicle in service.”
Recently, Encana USA opened a CNG station in Riverton at the Pit Stop on South Federal Boulevard and the Pinedale station is in use with a grand opening slated for early November, according to Encana. Fueling infrastructures are also planned to open in Rock Springs later this month, and the Wyoming Legislature approved a station for Laramie to open in 2013.
“UW Extension is pleased to have a CNG-powered vehicle in its fleet to travel the state,” added Whipple. “We appreciate the support of Encana for this project, and given the importance of natural gas to Wyoming, look forward to more CNG-powered vehicles to our extension fleet.”