At $1.89 a gallon, converting cars to natural gas becomes more attractive


Richard Ockers admits it won't happen overnight, but he's hopeful nonetheless.
"You can't just snap your fingers and convert an existing vehicle," he said. "At least not yet."

Standing next to Laclede Gas' compressed natural gas (CNG) pump, Ockers, a project engineer with the utility, knows the stumbling blocks to converting a car to natural gas, particularly the multi-thousand dollar price tag. But he's also quick to point out another price: $1.89 a gallon -- well below what the cars whizzing by on Shrewsbury Avenue are paying at the pumps they have to use.

Photo by David Baugher

Of course, there are a lot more of those pumps. That's the other problem. The facility Ockers uses is the only public CNG station in the St. Louis area.

"The manufacturers don't want to produce more vehicles in the natural gas option until there is fueling station availability," he said. "And no one wants to put in fueling stations unless there are users."

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