PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” A local company celebrated its first anniversary of providing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to the Punxsutawney area this past week with a reception at the Punxsutawney Country Club.
July 4, 2011, "O" Ring CNG Fuel Systems L.P. declared fuel energy independence for itself and a fleet of 16 vehicles, said owner Robert H. Beatty, Jr.
â€śI have been the owner and president of a compressed gas company with four to six employees for over 25 years,â€ť he said. â€śAs I watched the price of gasoline continually rise over the years, it just made sense to combine our technical knowledge base in the compressed gas industry with the natural resources we have in this area to come up with an alternative solution."
Beatty said it made sense from a business standpoint and from an environmental one, and that it is also a matter of national security.
â€śOur first station was located at our farm in Oliver Township, with the second station officially opening last July 4 off of Route 436 on Universal Road," Beatty said, adding that this past July 4th, "O" Ring opened a third station in Rimersburg.
Beatty said his 2005 Chevrolet pickup truck came from the factory equipped to run on natural gas or gasoline.
The equivalent mileage is about the same as with gasoline, he said.
"Typically, if your vehicle gets 15 miles to the gallon on gasoline, you'll get 15 miles to the gallon on CNG," Beatty said, adding that there are aftermarket conversions and up-fitters that can convert a vehicle at the factory to run on dual fuel, and there are dedicated CNG vehicles that only run on natural gas.
He said currently, the technology is available to convert everything from a lawnmower to a tractor-trailer and everything in between.
"O" Ring has been quietly building up a list of customers over the past year, he said.
Beatty said the big advantage that CNG has over gasoline is that it is cheaper to purchase than regular gasoline or diesel fuel.
CNG is measured in a gas/gallon equivalent, he said.
An equivalent amount of energy in CNG is $2 a gallon, compared to $3.50 to $4 a gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel, Beatty said.
"We expect the price to remain in that $2 neighborhood for a long time," he said. "Given that we have an abundance of natural gas, and the recent expansion of natural gas resources in the Marcellus Shale, there is a 150-year proven reserve, even if every vehicle on the planet was converted to CNG," he said.
Beatty also demonstrated that the self-serve natural gas pump is as easy to use as a self-serve regular gasoline pump.
State Sen. Joe Scarnati, president pro-tempore, said at the reception celebrating Energy Independence that he wanted to congratulate Beatty on his one-year anniversary.
"It's so wonderful to be in the state legislature as we see the rise of another great industry like CNG," Scarnati said.
"I appreciate Bob (Beatty) for his passion and drive," the senator said, adding that the reason Beatty is successful is because he puts his money behind his passion and drive.
During the reception, State Rep. Sam Smith, speaker of the House, congratulated "O" Ring for venturing out in an area that is unchartered and has proven it to be successful.
"It's great to have an example from my district that I can point to, someone like Bob (Beatty) who is doing this,â€ť Smith said.
For more information on converting a vehicle to run on CNG and to find the nearest CNG station in Jefferson County, call "O" Ring CNG Fuel Systems at 814-590-4498, or check its Web site at www.oringcng.com.