Blue Water Area Transit (BWAT)

MI: Compressed Natural Gas Now Available 24/7 at Three New Local Stations by Blue Water Area Transit

Blue Water Area Transit has completed a project that brings “24/7” compressed natural gas access to St. Clair County, Mich., at three new stations in Capac, Marine City, and Port Huron.

“The new stations were mainly designed to meet the needs of the Council on Aging and its growing fleet of CNG buses,” says Jim Wilson, BWAT general manager. “By making the stations available for public use, we hope to further improve air quality in this area.”

The agency now operates a total of four CNG stations, including the original one at its headquarters in Port Huron.

Four stations represent “a significant share of Michigan’s CNG infrastructure,” according to Aaron Champion, coordinator, Detroit Area and West Michigan Clean Cities Coalitions, U.S. Department of Energy. “This kind of investment in a cleaner, domestic energy source will
help St. Clair County reap several benefits sooner than other areas of the state.”

There are currently only 13 public CNG stations in Michigan, according to David C. Kirschner, Clean Cities regional manager, U.S. Department of Energy. There will be 16 after BWAT adds its three new stations to the list, which will also bring the national total up to 678.

All three of the new self-serve fueling stations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with Compressed Natural Gas available for $2.30 per gasoline gallon equivalent. Certified by the State of Michigan, the stations feature video surveillance monitoring and a technical “call out” feature that notifies the transit agency’s CNG specialist about any problems. BWAT accepts Discover, Master Card, VISA, and American Express at its
fueling stations.

The stations are by Mansfield Gas Equipment Systems Corp., based in Gainesville Ga.

Funds for the project were provided by an $891,000 competitive federal grant from the Clean Fuels program and $222,750 in State matching funds. Clean Fuels funding is for transportation projects that increase the use of alternative fuels. The project has also benefited from tax incentives.

Compressed natural gas is a low-emission American-made alternative fuel that saves money, promotes a clean environment by reducing carbon emissions and reduces our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Blue Water Area Transit started producing its own compressed natural gas in 1996 and now ranks as Michigan’s largest producer of the alternative fuel. It also runs the state’s largest fleet of alternative fuel buses.

The agency continues a proud tradition of innovation in public transit that has served Port Huron for more than a century. Port Huron was one of the nation’s first communities to operate an electrified transit system in the 1880s and one of the first to operate motor coaches when they became popular in the 1930s. Following an eight-year hiatus, the current bus service began in September 1976. Since then, BWAT has carried more than 25
million riders.
 

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