CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County officials are exploring both compressed natural gas and liquid propane as alternate fuels for county vehicles.
And they're getting industry leaders to help foot the bill.
The Kanawha County Commission already bought one Chevrolet Tahoe that runs on compressed natural gas, and is considering buying other alternative-fuel vehicles when they buy new cars and trucks.
County commissioners Kent Carper, Hoppy Shores and Dave Hardy were ready to vote at a regular meeting Thursday on a $17,000 project to build a slow-fill compressed natural gas-filling port at the county courthouse. But T.J. Meadows, business manager for IGS Energy and CNG Services, offered to give the county a filling station for free. IGS is pushing for more natural gas-powered technology in the state.
At the same meeting, Bret Chandler offered the county part of a $500,000 federal grant to convert vehicles to liquid propane if the county will consider converting some cars and trucks to that alternate fuel. Chandler is managing director of the investment company Propane Fuel Technologies LLC, but also works with CleanFUEL USA, a national company pushing propane technology.
Carper said there's no reason for the county not to look at both forms of alternate fuel. Both natural gas and propane can be tapped and refined in West Virginia, and within the county's borders.
"Why shouldn't we burn our own gas?" Carper asked. "We're importing oil."
"Look out, oil companies," he said. "If this catches on, watch the price of gasoline go down. It's competition, and I like it."