SEVIERVILLE (WATE) – There is a spotlight on using natural gas in our state, as the Tennessee Gas Association tours our state, highlighting why they say it’s important to use as fuel for vehicles.
They’re hosting the Natural Gas Vehicle Across Tennessee Rally this week. They started in Memphis and ended Friday with a stop at the Sevier County Utility District. SCDC President Matt Ballard says one year ago they built one of the first natural gas stations in East Tennessee. In the first six months, he says they saved about $13,000 in fuel costs by converting 14 of their utility trucks to use natural gas. The station also fuels six new Dollywood DreamMore Resort trolleys, and is open to the public anytime.
“It’s actually gone really well for us and our thought in doing this was we live here at the foothills of the Smokies so why not burn a clean energy that’s domestically produced and more economical for us to use with our fleet,” Ballard said.
The idea is growing. Knoxville Utility Board announced Friday they will start building the first natural gas station in Knoxville.
“Which is great because that’s what we’re wanting to happen across the state of Tennessee is people to feel like they can drive a natural gas vehicle without the fear of running out of gas. The more stations we have in the area the better off everybody is,” Ballard said.
Pat Riley, manager of Gibson County Utility, helped start the tour. He says fracking has brought an abundance of natural gas in our country over the last several years. As we’ve reported, there are groups opposed to fracking because of environmental concerns. We asked Riley about those concerns.
“It’s American fuel. It’s cleaner and greener and it’s going to help everybody’s pocket book and make Tennessee a greener state,” Riley said.