IGS Energy opened its first compressed natural gas fueling station in Bridgeport, W.Va., as part of a plan to offer the alternative fuel along the I-79 corridor between west central West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania.
In January, IGS said it would build and operate a network of CNG stations along I-79 from Charleston, W.Va., to Mount Morris, Pa., at a cost of around $10 million.
"The stations will be in the same areas where drivers can already fill up with diesel or gasoline. Fueling with CNG will take drivers about the same amount of time," IGS President Scott White said.
"The current price point for CNG is $2.19 a gallon," White added. "It's a much cheaper [option] than traditional gasoline and diesel."
A lack of refueling stations has undermined sales and demand for CNG-powered vehicles. But they are appealing to fleet users that operate fixed, daily delivery schedules.
The Honda Civic GX -- the best-selling natural gas-powered vehicle in the United States -- has posted sales of 1,599 units in 2013 through August, according to hybridcars.com
Ford Motor Co. said Monday that the 2014 Transit Connect will have the option of being converted to run on compresses natural gas.
Private businesses along the I-79 corridor, such as natural gas supplier EQT Corp., have begun converting vehicle fleets to CNG. The West Virginia Department of Highways also plans to use compressed natural gas-powered vehicles.
"Right now about 90 percent of the users of these stations will be fleet vehicles," White said. "But there are companies developing more vehicles that will use this fuel."
Ohio-based IGS Energy was founded in 1989 and supplies compressed natural gas to an 11-state region.