ATHENS, Ala. (WAAY)-The City of Athens opened the first public compressed natural gas station in North Alabama.
On Wednesday morning, Athens held a ribbon cutting for the only CNG fast-fill station off of I-65 between Birmingham and Nashville.
"We just feel like it's the way to go" said Steve Carter with the City of Athens' Gas Department. "It's a green energy, it's made right here, it's produced in the United States. We don't depend on any foreign country to bring us the fuel."
The city will sell the alternative fuel to the public at a $1.65 per gallon equivalent. It will also use the station to save money by filling up its own fleet which includes 6 vehicles converted to run on CNG and 6 more on order.
"The cost of it. Yes, it's about $600,000" said Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks when asked the cost of new station. "We believe we can recoup that with a five year return on investment and that's about as good as you can get."
Jason Rolin drives the city's CNG garbage truck that fills up for less than half the cost of the other diesel trucks.
"I wish my personal vehicle run off of it" said Rolin. "I would recommend anybody to get them."
Around 6 months ago, the city purchased the CNG Garbage truck for $30,000 more than the diesel version and has two more on order.
"The saving of that is approximately $50 to $60,000 per year so in a five year period of time we can actually buy another truck just for the cost savings of compressed natural gas. Plus going green. Plus reducing the emissions in the atmosphere" said Marks.
The city is looking at $100,000 in yearly savings by filling up with all 12 CNG vehicles. They plan to purchase more CNG vehicles in the future.
"If your running local and close to the station, we're going to be looking at compressed natural gas vehicles" said Marks.
The new station is located off Highway 31 near the Sportsplex at 1755 TriGreen Drive.