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Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - 12:12pm

Expect More Natural Gas Stations

Atlanta Gas Light got the go-ahead Tuesday from the Public Service Commission to build a network of compressed natural gas stations. They’ll begin in metro Atlanta, with hopes for expansion elsewhere across Georgia.

The stations are like regular gas stations, only they pump natural gas into vehicles. Atlanta Gas Light is set to begin construction on the stations by late 2012.

Private investment would fund much of the infrastructure. But nearly $12 million could come from Atlanta Gas Light industrial customer fees--out of the universal service fund.

PSC member Doug Everett says the use of ratepayers’ money is typical.

“There is not a single state in the United States where they have compressed natural gas stations, that all the stations weren’t funded through some type of governmental program or subject to ratepayers.”

Atlanta Gas Light's David Weaver says building five to ten stations around Atlanta could start a larger statewide initiative.

“Our role in this is to seed the market for private investment, help manage it for five years, and then get out of the way and let private industry take over.”

Georgia has only a handful of publicly available natural gas fueling stations—most in Atlanta.

A national gas advocacy group says there are roughly 110,000 such vehicles on U.S. roads.

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