SALT LAKE CITY -- The first liquefied natural gas (LNG) station in Utah opened Tuesday, reported the Associated Press. The station will likely become an important hub for two planned LNG corridors for long-haul trucks in the western United States, said Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). It is located at the Flying J Travel Plaza near a Salt Lake City interchange between Interstate 80, which goes east across the country to New York and west to San Francisco, and I-15, running north through Idaho and Montana into Canada and south to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
"Using more natural gas in our transportation sector will make us more competitive as a nation," Hatch said during a ceremony to open the station. "Natural gas is clean, it's abundant, it's affordable and it's American."
Along with five hoses for LNG service, the station will offer 12 hoses for compressed natural gas (CNG) that is more commonly used by passenger cars and light-duty trucks, said Merritt Norton, chief executive officer for Provo, Utah-based CH4 Energy, the company that will operate the station.
Utah already has good infrastructure for CNG vehicles, with more than two dozen stations open, Norton said. Many of those are along I-15.
Norton said natural gas burns cleaner than fuel and is non-toxic, which he proved by downing a glass of water mixed with LNG.
Because it is domestic, natural gas provides energy independence and boosts the economy, said Utah Governor Gary Herbert.
The station was partially funded by a $3 million grant from federal stimulus funds given to the Utah Clean Cities Coalition, Carrie Gilles, the coalition's northern director, told AP.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are 40 other LNG stations in the United States, 32 of them in California.