The City of Lawton, in the U.S. State of Oklahoma, is comfortable with its switch to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) for city fleet vehicles. After a five-year process of research, discussion, and brainstorming, the city now has it’s first CNG station and several CNG-powered vehicles. More CNG vehicles also arrive this month.
The city was assisted in its deliberations by the Oklahoma Clean Cities Association and the Oklahoma Public Fleet Managers Association, and owes much to the vision of Public Works Director Jerry Ihler, a 29-year public servant and former City Engineer, and City of Lawton Equipment Maintenance Director Dennis Bothell.
In Fall 2016, ground was broken for the first CNG fueling station in Lawton. The complex, adjacent to the Public Works Yard, is overseen and maintained by GoSPARQ, LLC. GoSPARQ entered into a 10-year lease agreement with the City of Lawton. The entire complex was built in 90 days and officially opened for use in January 2017. It has four fast-fill pumps, available for the general public, and 32 time-fill stations for city vehicle use.
“We made a lot of good decisions that saved the City of Lawton a lot of money,” Bothell said. He points out the three-party mutual agreement cost tax payers nothing. “It was nice to be a part of something so good for the community; this was definitely a win-win.”
Maintenance Issues Way Down
The city press release says the visionary leadership of both Bothell and Ihler made Lawton a viable force in energy-saving efforts and the fight for cleaner air. Issues with exhaust systems and diesel-particulate filters have been greatly reduced or completely eliminated with the switch to CNG. Maintenance costs are therefore down. Six city-owned vehicles currently operate on CNG and another six are set to be purchased in July. An entire fleet of City of Lawton CNG sanitation trucks should be complete by 2022.
Source: City of Lawton, OK