WARREN - Trumbull County commissioners Thursday picked a firm from Columbus to find out if switching government-owned vehicles to run on compressed natural gas makes sense, and whether a CNG filling station would be a practical venture.
Meanwhile, the first compressed natural gas, or CNG, fueling station in the Mahoning Valley should be open in time for the Fourth of July, one of the busier travel holidays in the United States.
The study that will be done by Clean Fuels Ohio will look at, in part, the number of miles the government vehicles are driven and what's been called a ''matrix'' of factors into the viability of building a CNG fueling station to fill-up those government and maybe even large, private sector fleets.
In addition, the study will look at what building modifications might be needed to accommodate vehicles that use natural gas as fuel.
The agreement with Clean Fuels Ohio is for $67,973 - all of which is being paid with money the Trumbull County Engineer's Office received from the state.
Right now, the finishing touches are being put on the IGS Energy-CNG Services fueling station in Weathersfield, the first of its kind in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
Firms that submitted proposals to do a compressed natural gas fueling station and vehicle program study in Trumbull County:
Clean Fuels Ohio, Columbus
Zeit Energy LLC, Dallas, Texas
MS Consultants, Youngstown
Johnston Controls, Salem
AFS American Fueling
EDG Environmental Design Group, Akron
The $2 million undertaking at Mr. Fuel on Salt Springs Road near Interstate 80 should be open around July 1, said Dave Mrowzinski, CNG program manager for IGS-CNG. It was expected to be open by now, but a cold winter delayed construction.
The station, with two dispensers and three lanes, can accommodate up to three cars or trucks at once.