Vehicle converter says CNG concept is a ‘natural' - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Vehicle converter says CNG concept is a ‘natural'

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Michael Moore’s Premier CNG is based in Jackson County and operates a Clarksburg location in conjunction with a Pennsylvania vehicle conversion company. Michael Moore’s Premier CNG is based in Jackson County and operates a Clarksburg location in conjunction with a Pennsylvania vehicle conversion company.
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Compressed natural gas is slowly expanding.

Michael Moore opened a CNG vehicle conversion business in the fall of 2012. He says an increasing number of West Virginians are making the switch now that two refueling stations are operating along I-79 in Bridgeport and Jane Lew.  A third location is opening soon in Charleston and he says others are planned for Morgantown, Wheeling and Parkersburg. 

"Its a domestic fuel available right under our feet," said Moore, who owns Premier CNG. The company has a Jackson County location and recently signed a cooperative agreement at a Harrison County business. 

"Why shouldn't we be driving natural gas vehicles?

"Interest is significantly up, especially over the last quarter," said Moore, an exhibitor at the West Virginia International Auto Show at the Charleston Civic Center. "Change is always difficult, but our education phase has been extensive over the past year."

CNG has its perks. Natural gas costs less than half the price of gasoline and it's more environmentally friendly. 

"Everyone's interested in a cheaper fuel, but it's hard to put a value on a cleaner, American fuel source," he said. "We hear from many of our customers they love the fuel savings, but the intangible of a West Virginia fuel source means a lot to so many people."

Moore adds that CNG vehicles aren't for everyone. New or used conversions are best suited for those who plan to put high mileage on an SUV or pick-up truck, vehicles that are not known for good fuel economy. 

"It doesn't make sense for everyone," he said. "If you're not driving the miles in order to realize the savings, it may not be right for you."

Typical conversion costs are in the $8,000 to $11,000 price range. Much  of that can be offset  through a significant a tax break of as much as $7,500 available in the Mountain State.

"The State of West Virginia offers some of the best tax incentives for natural gas conversions across the nation," said Moore, who noted the net cost usually equates to the $2,000 to $3,000 range.

One misconception about CNG vehicles is that motorists may get stranded miles from the closest fueling station. 

"These vehicles also run on gasoline," said Moore, who also offers home and commercial-sized fueling appliances. "If you would run out of natural gas, the vehicle will automatically switch back to gasoline and you'll have the full range of your gasoline tank."

The most popular CNG cylinder is a 24-gallon tank, which allows approximately 325 miles of natural gas use.