By BEN FOX RUBIN
General Electric (GE) and natural gas producer Chesapeake
Energy said Wednesday that they will work together to develop
new infrastructure to accelerate the adoption of natural gas as
a transportation fuel.
Their agreement comes as many US automakers are ramping up
plans to introduce natural-gas powered pickup trucks to catch a
growing wave of interest in the fuel alternative amid booming
gas prices have continued to drop amid growing US
production thanks to new drilling techniques, including
hydraulic fracturing, known as fracking.
The cleaner-burning fuel has already been eating into coal's
market share for power plants.
But the biggest hurdle to natural
gas's wider use in vehicles is refueling. Today there are
fewer than 400 public compressed natural gas fueling stations
in the US.
GE and Chesapeake are looking to use GE's oil and gas
technologies with Chesapeake's natural-gas knowledge base to
lower the ownership and operational cost of natural-gas vehicle
Starting in the fall, GE plans to provide more than 250
modular CNG fueling stations to build a new core
CNG is most commonly used in light- to medium-duty vehicles
such as pickups, vans, SUVs, taxicabs, transit buses, refuse
and delivery trucks as well as consumer vehicles.
The companies are also looking to expand use of liquefied natural
gas (LNG), which is commonly used for heavy-duty industrial
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