Rebate Provides Funds for Region's First CNG Site

A Kum and Go convenience store in Springdale should be selling compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicle refueling in late 2014 after the Arkansas Energy Office earlier today announced it will provide funding to the project.

The station will be the first in Northwest Arkansas to offer the low-cost, alternative fuel to the public.

The Arkansas Energy Office (AEO), a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, agreed to provide a $400,0000 alternative fuel station rebates to the Kum and Go location at 1220 E. Robinson Road. The store is at a major intersection that’s southeast of the Springdale Municipal Airport.

In April 2013, at the request of its members, the Northwest Arkansas Council added a strategic action to the Greater Northwest Arkansas Development Strategy related to making compressed natural gas available in the region. Several Council members already use compressed natural gas as a fuel source in regions where it’s available.

Additionally, some local governments in Northwest Arkansas have expressed interest in utilizing CNG as a way to reduce transportation costs and decrease dependence on foreign oil. The cost of CNG at most Arkansas stations today is near $1.50 per gallon gasoline equivilent while the cost of gasoline statewide was $3.18 or more per gallon.

A Love’s Travel Store in West Memphis will also receive the $400,000 alternative fuel station rebate. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission announced the Springdale and West Memphis rebates on its website today.

A review panel of industry professionals and leaders rated applications based on factors including geography and project feasibility along with the manner in which the stations aligned with AEO’s goals for alternative fuels development in the state.

“CNG continues to play a large role in our efforts to build a sustainable economy,” said Grant Tennille, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. “These rebates provide one more way we can make the use of alternative fuels an option for Arkansans.”

While there are hundreds of CNG stations across the nation, and large concentrations of stations in states such as Oklahoma, Texas and California, CNG is only available in a few Arkansas communities. There are stations in Damascus, Conway, North Little Rock, Little Rock, Jonesboro and Fort Smith. Expanding the network in the state is a goal of the state's Energy Office.