A workshop is planned for Thursday to educate the owners of vehicle fleets in Iowa and across the Midwest about the benefits of using compressed natural gas, or C-N-G. Steve Yborra, spokesman for the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation, says fleet owners and managers have the most to gain from using C-N-G in their vehicles.

“Government fleets and transit fleets, county fleets, things that have to do with trucks and cars and buses as well as private vehicles in private fleets such as food and beverage or snack foods or linens and services,” Yborra says, “The kinds of folks that are in return-to-base, repetitive operations where they use a fair amount of fuel.”

Yborra says there are many questions about C-N-G which they plan to answer during the workshop. “What’s driving that market and that interest?” Yborra says. “Economics, energy security, environment. What kinds of vehicles are available? Some of the kinds of questions that are typically asked about stations and what are the things you need to know about developing a station. What are the best applications? We talk about the economics and share stories from other fleets that have done it both public and private around the country.”

Yborra says the Omaha-based Happy Cab Company is climbing aboard the natural gas bandwagon. Fifty taxis will be converted after Happy Cab employees are trained by the company that manufactures the system and has the appropriate federal certificates that authorize changing to the vehicles, he says.

It’s believed there are only three C-N-G stations in Iowa and Nebraska combined, but Yborra says many more will follow. He says compressed natural gas is running about $2.00 a gallon, compared to gasoline at nearly twice the price. The one-day workshop in Lincoln, Nebraska, is being sponsored in part by the Iowa Clean Cities Coalition and several Iowa fleet owners plan to attend.