Piedmont Natural Gas on Tuesday opened a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station to the public in Nashville, TN, hailing it as the next step in the utility company’s efforts to establish a CNG fueling corridor along the major interstates in its service area.

The new station is Piedmont’s second in Nashville and the 10th it has opened to the public in South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. The company said Tuesday it is planning another five to seven stations in the region as a broader trend plays out in states across the country that finds multiple companies working to build a refueling network for natural gas vehicles (see Daily GPI, April 25).

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said the city supports Piedmont’s plan to build more stations and added that the city will soon purchase its first CNG vehicle for the metro fleet.

Like other natural gas distributors across the country, North Carolina-based Piedmont is also in the midst of converting one-third of its 1,000 fleet vehicles to run on CNG by the end of next year (see Daily GPI, July 10).

“System-wide, we expect to displace two million gasoline gallon equivalents in 2014,” said Piedmont CFO Karl Newlin. “We expect that number will increase in the coming years.”

Rising fuel costs and increased environmental restrictions have many municipal fleets and long-haul transportation firms considering a switch to either CNG or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

A recent report released by Navigant Research estimates that worldwide annual medium- and heavy-duty NGV sales and conversions will grow from the current 4.3 million to 7.1 million vehicles by 2035 (see Daily GPI, July 14). In the United States, there are currently 728 public CNG stations and 56 LNG stations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Piedmont’s station will serve a range of fleet cars, trucks, street sweepers and semi-trucks. Piedmont said those who tapped the station for fuel on Tuesday were paying $2.19 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, compared to a national average of $3.60 for a gallon of regular grade gasoline, according to the automotive group AAA.