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Lot by Maverik picked for natural gas station

by Ben Gramham, Jackson HOle News&Guide
February 21, 2013

A lot next to Maverik Country Store in Jackson could have a compressed natural gas station if a request for $732,000 is OK’d by the state.

The Jackson Hole Energy Sus-tainability Project’s board unanimously voted Wednesday to seek a grant from the Wyoming Business Council. The grant would buy the equipment needed for the natural gas station.

The sustainability project, a joint town, county and Lower Valley Energy group, aims to jump-start the market for natural gas vehicles in Jackson.

Officials of the organization wanted to find a site that already had a traditional gas station and was close to a convenience store. Maverik is both.

The half-acre property along South Highway 89 belongs to G6 LLC, whose registered agent is Dennis Lamb.

Before the board voted, officials and residents touted the benefits of natural gas, saying it costs less than traditional fuel and burns more cleanly.

County Commissioner Ben Ellis pointed out that, while it may be better than petroleum products, natural gas is dirtier than renewable energies such as solar and wind power. Still, he was supportive.

“All that said, this is a step in the right direction,” Ellis said.

Ellis said he has already looked into converting his wife’s car.

Altering a car to run on natural gas typically costs between $5,000 and $10,000

Advocates of the project say developers won’t build stations until there are customers for natural gas. But drivers won’t convert their vehicles unless there is a place to fuel up.

The cost of the equipment, which includes a compressor, storage tanks, a dispenser and a card reader, “is too steep a price tag for private sector business owners when the market is at its infancy,” the application states.

The natural gas equivalent of a gallon of gasoline costs about $2. Vehicles get about the same mileage, but engines last longer with natural gas.

The grant application is one of four from Teton County that the business council will review after the March 1 deadline.

Jackson Hole Airport is seeking a $2 million grant and a $3 million loan to help build a new $18 million baggage claim.

In the past two weeks, the Jackson Town Council has endorsed two applications, one for Vertical Harvest’s greenhouse and one for infrastructure improvements to Snow King Mountain.

Imagine Jackson, an economic development organization, wants to use grant money to build a co-work office space next to Miller Park. But the group has asked that its application be delayed to give the council and the public more time to review it.

Teton County commissioners still must decide whether they will ask for money to connect the Adam’s Canyon area south of Jackson to the town’s sewer line.

The business council makes a recommendation on the applications to the State Loan and Investment Board, which has the final say.

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