Elizabethtown Gas, a subsidiary of AGL Resources Inc., has taken the initiative to help expand the accessibility of compressed natural gas (CNG) in the state of New Jersey.

In early September, the utility filed a request with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) to build public and commercial access CNG fueling stations and promote the use of CNG as a viable alternative to gasoline and diesel fuel for fleets operating in the state. The proposal was designed following a comprehensive market study, which concluded that the market for CNG usage in New Jersey largely has been constrained due to limited availability of infrastructure to support natural gas vehicles.

Elizabethtown Gas will be growing the number of CNG vehicles in its own operation as well. Approximately 20 of its 240-unit on-road vehicles currently run on natural gas. By the end of 2013, the utility plans to have 20 more units running on the alternative fuel. The current fleet is comprised of light trucks, automobiles, service trucks, and large trucks.

"We strongly believe state utilities have an important role to play to stimulate private investment in CNG stations and vehicles, and our proposal will help bring additional stations to other parts of the state,” said Brian MacLean, the company’s vice president of operation, noting that five of the the six public CNG fueling stations are located in southern New Jersey.

As part of its request, Elizabethtown Gas would install and maintain CNG equipment at commercial and industrial customer premises to serve fleet vehicles. The company plan would also permit the utility to construct public-access CNG fueling stations in the company’s service territory. The plan to expand access to CNG stations will help meet the environmental goals envisioned in the state’s energy master plan while also encouraging companies and consumers seeking to reduce fuel costs and emissions to consider converting to CNG-fueled vehicles. 
Elizabethtown Gas has long supported the growth of the alternative fuel market. The company first began operating CNG pumps for its fleet at its Green Lane facility in Union County in the mid-1990s. Later this year, the company will complete an expansion of that facility to open those pumps for public access.

Elizabethtown Gas provides natural gas delivery service to approximately 277,000 residential, business and industrial natural gas customers in New Jersey, serving parts of Union, Middlesex, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon, Morris, and Mercer counties. Parent company AGL Resources is currently one of the largest fleets in the country, ranking in at No. 127 on Automotive Fleet’s Top 300 Commercial Fleets.