Caltex Australia has opened the first public Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) refuelling facility, located at a Melbourne fuel company petrol and convenience store, with its launch at Caltex’s Star Mart site at Tullamarine late last week.
Partnering with AGL Energy Limited (AGL), Caltex said it is leading the charge as the first major fuel supplier in Australia to offer this niche fuel at a service station site.
The initiative provides something new for motorists and transport companies keen to explore alternative fuels.
The facility, opened by Caltex’s executive general manager Commercial, Bruce Rosengarten, is expected to mainly service commercial truck fleets already operating with the fuel. But the fuel would also be sold to other motorists if their vehicle was compatible.
“While commercial trucks, buses and machinery represent the vast majority of the 3000 existing CNG vehicles operating nationally, building this type of refuelling infrastructure will give motorists with compatible vehicles access to the niche fuel too,” Mr Rosengarten said.
“There is a growing trend toward natural gas with more than 13 million vehicles powered by the fuel globally.
“In Australia a major barrier is the lack of new vehicles designed to use the fuel and, as a result, there has not been demand for refuelling facilities.”
By opening the Tullamarine CNG facility, Caltex and AGL will ensure the alternative fuel is available to motorists if and when it is needed, while meeting the needs of existing commercial customers, he added.
AGL executive general manager New Energy, Marc England, said that AGL was very pleased to be working with Caltex on this initiative.
“This partnership can help businesses focus on cost effectiveness and enable them to reduce their environmental footprints, so we believe it is a smart choice for fleet companies,” Mr England said.
A 7-Eleven service station in the Sydney suburb of Moorebank offers CNG, as does an AGL site in Canberra. In 2010, OES CNG opened Australia’s first full public access CNG service station at Aspendale Gardens, Melbourne.