Natural gas refueling station opens - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Natural gas refueling station opens

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SPARTANBURG, SC (WIS) -  It's a long drive from Indiana, but trucker Al Roach has been a lot further from home.

"I've traveled so far, I've only missed one state in the continental United States," he said.

Roach can go close to a 1000 miles before stopping. And when he does, it's easily $600 for the diesel fuel he'll need to continue.

But that's not the only way to get around.

"So you can drive, in essence, from Atlanta, to the Eastern Shore, or close to the Eastern Shore in North Carolina on natural gas," said Steve Abernathy with CNG Design, Piedmont Natural Gas.

With the opening of the state's second natural gas refueling station in Spartanburg, transportation companies are taking notice.

"It's cleaner burning, it's better for the engines, its cheaper and it's better for the environment," said John Clark with the South Carolina Biomass Council.

"The sign out there says $2.14 a gallon, as opposed to $3 whatever," said Abernathy.

Large companies like Frito Lay and AT&T are already utilizing this cheaper, cleaner fuel.

"The station in Greenville, we have about 60 natural gas vehicles coming through there that are AT&T," said Abernathy. "The city of Simpsonville has a few natural gas powered trash trucks that they are using for down there."

There are close to 150, 000 natural gas vehicles in use by the public in the United States. But many doubt that number will increase.

"I don't think we're going to get all our vehicles running on natural gas," said Clark. "It's a massive infrastructure problem. We get our fuel at gas stations."

"It's using our resources," said Roach. "That way it will save part of the oil supply for future people. Our young ones, hopefully."

Natural gas experts say the state of South Carolina has not invested in this particular technology, but they have been supportive in getting the word out.

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