“America’s Natural Gas Highway” took a big leap forward infrastructure-wise on Thursday with the announcement of a proposed first phase of development in 70 liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel locations that would open in 33 states by the end of this year.

Seal Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp., the LNG supplier and station developer for the natural gas vehicle (NGV) corridor, which is particularly aimed at long-haul truckers, said it has identified the first 98 of 150 natural gas fueling locations, many of which would be located at Pilot-Flying J Travel Centers that already serve the trucking sector.

Clean Energy has an agreement with Pilot-Flying J to build, own and operate fueling facilities (see Daily GPI, Aug. 25, 2011). Pilot has more than 550 locations in 47 states, a Clean Energy spokesperson said.

In the first phase of development this year, Clean Energy said the major highway segments include: San Diego-Los Angeles-Riverside in California to Las Vegas, NV; the Texas Triangle of Houston-San Antonio-Dallas/Fort Worth; Los Angeles-Dallas; Houston-Chicago; and Chicago-Atlanta. Also planned is a network of stations along major highways in parts of the Midwest and Southeast, including Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Kansas, Oklahoma and Alabama.

Clean Energy hopes to complete 150 fueling stations by the end of next year. The timetable coincides with the expected commercial arrival of natural gas truck engines suited for heavy duty and over-the-road trucking by manufacturers that include Cummins-Westport, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Navistar, Freightliner and Caterpillar.

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