This is in reference to the recent Journal story, “First CNG Station Stalls In Farmington.”
New Mexico Gas Co. has a long memory thanks to many of its managers being former Gas Company of New Mexico and PNM Gas Services employees.
PNM Gas Services in the 1990s financed and set up CNG refueling stations in Aztec, Farmington, Bloomfield, Española, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Albuquerque, Sandia Labs, Roswell, Los Lunas and Alamogordo. Over the term of several years, PNM Gas Services invested several million dollars in infrastructure and other related expenses to get the CNG program to work.
PNM Gas Services even went so far as to offer repair services, training and support to those state, federal, municipal and private fleets who were using natural gas and propane vehicles.
Even with all that support, over time, there was a lack of motivation to use and support the use of alternative fuels.
PNM Gas Services had a very professional team of experts supporting its efforts as well as the commitment of management to support the team’s efforts along with our biggest supporter being the N.M. Energy and Minerals Department.
As gasoline prices dropped and natural gas prices rose, the use of alternative fuels waned. A company can only sustain losses for so long before the plug must be pulled.
Now, it looks as though the low natural gas prices may stay down for a longer period of time so it may be more economical to use natural gas as an internal combustion fuel.
However, gas companies are not about to stick their necks out any longer as they did in the past with just promises of potential buyers to use the fuel.
Gas line extensions for refueling projects are going to have to be paid up front by the users and not the gas suppliers, thereby, saving all the ratepayers from subsidizing such projects.
The use of alternative fuels can work both efficiently and effectively with today’s technology. It just needs a driver to make it happen. What the program needs now is someone to lead.
Doug Taylor was an alternative fuels service manager.