A newly formed private company has opened a refueling station in Port Washington for natural-gas-powered vehicles, boosting the small number of such stations open to the public on the Island.
The facility, which began dispensing compressed natural gas late last month, is run by Intelligent Energy Solutions, created by the owners of three companies, Cow Bay Contracting, a landscaping and sprinkler company; Jay Paul Associates, a residential contractor; and CPC Pools Inc., all based nearby.
The gas is supplied by National Grid. It is dispensed from a special pump at the station at 1 Valley Rd. that has been selling gasoline and diesel fuel for many years and was purchased a few years ago by Cow Bay. "This is the oldest gas station in Port Washington," said president Joseph D'Alonzo of Cow Bay and Intelligent Energy.
He said Cow Bay's fleet of 25 trucks includes six that are powered by natural gas, which, at the equivalent of $2.49 a gallon, is much cheaper than the gasoline or diesel that powers its other vehicles. The company is adding two natural-gas-powered cars for executives to drive.
D'Alonzo said Intelligent Energy is trying now to line up private and public natural-gas-vehicle fleet operators as customers for the new facility, which represents an investment of about $500,000 for Cow Bay.
Utilities, schools, governments and bus operators are big users of natural-gas vehicles, but so far they've been a hard sell for most of the smaller companies that predominate in the Long Island economy, despite their clean-air benefits and lower fuel costs.
Experts blame a shortage of refueling stations. Before the new Port Washington station there were only 12 open to the public on Long Island and 12 private stations, according to the Greater Long Island Clean Cities Coalition, which helps promote alternatives to gasoline and diesel fuel.