Toccoa, MGAG Looking at CNG Station

The Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia thinks Toccoa may be right for a compressed natural gas fueling station that could be open to the public.

Officials from MGAG met with Toccoa City Commissioners last month at a work session to talk about the idea.

The city of Toccoa has been conducting a test run, converting and operating a few vehicles off of compressed natural gas to see what kinds of savings the city would see.

Pointing to just one vehicle as an example, Toccoa Utilities Director Harry Scott said that the numbers are showing that the city is saving significantly by using compressed natural gas.

According to Scott, a vehicle that went 550 miles per week on average with a 14 miles per gallon fuel mileage average would save $3,534 over a year, based on calculations.

Scott said those savings also carry over to the other test vehicles.

Toccoa officials have expressed an interest in working towards converting more of the city’s vehicle fleet to CNG if the test run went well.

Meanwhile, MGAG officials said Toccoa could be a very good location for a public access compressed natural gas fueling station.

Scott Tollison with MGAG told city commissioners that MGAG has put aside $5 million to fund public access stations in member cities, adding that Toccoa is on the short list.

He said MGAG thought building the right station in Toccoa would cost $700,000 to $1 million.

According to Tollison, MGAG is currently putting together a plan it feels will work.

“It has to be the experience you are used to when you plug up at the gas station,” said Tollison.  “It has to be ‘soccer-mom friendly’ or it will not work.  We only have one chance to do it right.”

He said that work involves also finding potential locations for such a facility and nailing down exactly what the facility would include.

Tollison said MGAG would invest the money and then collect a fee off of the sales in order to recoup what it spends.  Once it is recouped, the station is turned over to Toccoa to be owned and operated.

Toccoa City Commissioner Ron Seib said that the project looks very attractive.

“We are very excited about the prospects of this project,” said Seib.

Eventually, Tollison said there is no reason the city could not put more stations up and down the city’s gas line over time.

Tollison said MGAG is still gathering more specific information about what will be required.  He says he will get that information back to the city in the coming weeks.

According to Tollison, the timeline for opening a station at this point would appear to be about 9 to 12 months at the earliest.