Nopetro, the seven-year-old compressed natural gas promoter based in Coral Gables, announced today that they have received a “notice of intent to award” from St. Johns County indicating that they have the green light to move forward with plans to build and operate a $2 million fueling station on State Road 16 at their expense — if the county buys 100,000 gallons of fuel the first year and 125,000 gallons in following years.
Nopetro designs, builds, owns, operates, and maintains compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas fueling stations throughout the Southeast for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.
“It just so happens that natural gas is abundant, substantially cheaper, and cleaner than fossil fuels,” Nopetro cofounder and Chief Executive Jorge A. Herrera. “Nopetro is the leader in the movement towards American fuel for transportation.”
Nopetro has lofty goals — they say that they will be instrumental in displacing petroleum fuel from the transportation sector, particularly diesel. They appear to be very “hands on” and a one-stop supplier; designing, building, operating, maintaining and supplying CNG and LNG fueling stations.
In order to achieve the minimum purchase, the plan is for St Johns County to convert 130 of its vehicles to use compressed natural gas. Conversion costs are estimated to be about $10,000 per vehicle. The North Florida TPO has offered to help offset the conversion cost with a $730,000 grant — leaving the county to invest just under $600,000. Estimates are that the fuel will cost about $1.00 or $1.50 per gallon less than gasoline. The conversion is expected to save the county millions of dollars a year in fuel operating costs, but there has been no comment about the cost of tools, additional parts, or engine maintenance once the vehicle is converted.
In addition to the fleet of county vehicles that will be refit, Nopetro says they will offer fuel to the public. Some private businesses in St Johns County are moving towards natural gas, including Advanced Disposal and Republic Waste Disposal. Reports say they would convert more vehicles to CNG — if the county moved ahead with getting a station built.
The St Johns County Commission still needs to approve this agreement.