Local company opens first CNG station in Eau Claire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local company opens first CNG station in Eau Claire

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - A new fuel station is up and running in Eau Claire, but this is no ordinary pump. 

At first glance, it may look like a normal truck. The juice these semis run on, may not be what you're used to

Menards Spokesperson Jeff Abbott says, "We purchased the CNG semi tractors to haul merchandise to our stores throughout the Midwest."

Menards has built the first compressed natural gas fueling station in Eau Claire. It's located next to their distribution center.

"We're really grateful to be a leader in this technology in Eau Claire, and hope that other companies and organizations take advantage of the opportunity to fuel their vehicles here. The CNG powered trucks cost about 40 to 50 percent more than diesel powered trucks," says Abbott.  

The initial investment was more than $1 million for the station and six new vehicles.  So why would Menards spend that much to make the switch to something that's not readily available along the highway?

Abbott says, "I have kids and I am proud to be able to tell them that we're doing this and hopefully generations to come will benefit from this."

Not only does CNG burn cleaner than diesel, it's cheaper, much cheaper.  Wednesday, it was selling for $2.42 a gallon.  Diesel is around four dollars.  These trucks can hold 70 gallons of fuel. So over the long haul, Menards could see a truckload of savings.

WQOW News 18 asked if there was a concern about being on the road and running on empty.

"We haven't run across that yet, but if we do, we have 7 or 8 really good partners out there throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin that we're able to use," explains Abbott.  

In the future Menards hopes to add more CNG vehicles to the fleet.

You may be wondering if there is any difference in how the vehicles run, the company says it has just the same power as an ordinary semi. 

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