In a state that currently has only three natural gas transportation fueling outlets, New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) on Thursday asked state regulators to approve its plans to invest up to $15 million in building an infrastructure for compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle fuels in three counties: Monmouth, Ocean and Morris.

With approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, NJNG envisions building up to 10 fueling stations at host company facilities throughout its service territory. Locations could be at private companies and/or public-sector/municipal organizations. The utility said the host organizations would use the stations for their own fleets and open the facilities to the public.

NJNG made clear in its filing it wants to address the chicken-egg dilemma facing alternative fuel vehicles by creating an infrastructure that will encourage greater fleet and individual use of natural gas-powered vehicles.

Based on the gas utility’s filing, current fuel prices would place the natural gas used in transportation at a $1.60/gallon of gasoline equivalent, with 30% less greenhouse gas emissions, compared with diesel, the utility estimated.

NJNG said it would begin construction soon after receiving project approval. Construction could begin by the end of next year, the filing indicated. NJNG then would file with the state regulators to recover the costs of the program in rates in October 2012.

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