Valdosta Daily Times

August 17, 2013

Natural gas station opens

Langdale Fuel launches only CNG stop between Atlanta, Orlando

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — State officials and dignitaries helped celebrate the grand opening Friday of the Langdale Fuel Co. CNG, or compressed natural gas, station. The station is one of only nine in the state of Georgia, and the only one between Atlanta and Orlando, Fla.

Michael DelBovo, president of Saddle Creek Transportation, one of the company’s first customers, extolled the virtures of natural gas.

“CNG is far safer than diesel fuel or gasoline. When refueling, you will never spill a drop and it won’t explode. If there is a leak in the tank, the gas will dissipate into the air. Our CNG trucks are 10 times quieter than diesel trucks, and natural gas is delivered underground, so you never have to worry about disruptions due to weather,” he said.

DelBovo said Saddle Creek hauls products for a number of major national companies, including Proctor and Gamble, Lowe’s, and Quaker Oats, and operates 450 trucks on various routes.

“Last year, we converted 100 trucks to natural gas and this year, we are converting 100 more.”

The Langdale Fuel Company is selling CNG for $2.36 in GGE, or gas gallon equivalents, making it at least $1 less than regular gasoline per gallon. The Ford company is selling F250s and will soon be marketing F150s that run on CNG, along with a number of other makes and models of vehicles. Some are solely CNG while others have dual systems that allow a switch to gas or diesel if needed.

In July 2012, Langdale Company officials met with area school administrators, business owners, and government representatives to announce that they were building the station in an effort to ensure they knew the options available for government vehicles, school buses, etc.

The company is not converting its trucks, but is instead slowly replacing its fleet with CNG vehicles.

At the grand-opening ceremony Friday, Ross Harding, the co-founder of Energy Launch Partners which assisted the company through the process, said using CNG is a completely different way of doing business in the U.S. A native Australian, Harding said the country is “finally catching up to what the rest of the world has been doing for years in energy conservation.”

Georgia Public Service Commission Commissioners Doug Everett and Lauren “Bubba” McDonald Jr. both spoke, thanking the Langdales for having the foresight to invest in the facility.

“We want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and we thank the Langdales for helping us reach that goal,” said Everett.

Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black said he appreciated working with a visionary family company, and stated, “It’s about time that government became a partner and not a hindrance to business.”

Black later personally placed the first Department of Agriculture fuels and measures division inspection sticker on one of the new CNG pumps.

Georgia Forestry Association President Steve McWilliams said it’s important for forestry to continue being proactive by helping promote the state’s largest industry, carry Georgia Grown food and fiber to market, and do so economically and in an environmentally friendly manner.

In addition to the $25 billion economic impact and the $37 billion environmental impact of forestry in Georgia, McWilliams said the top exports from Georgia’s ports are wood pulp, paper and paperboard, by far.

“Some think the forestry industry is old, tired and passe, but we are very forward looking, forward thinking and future focused. Investments such as this one by the Langdale Company demonstrates their passion for the industry, and in fact, there is no bigger advocate for forestry in the state than Wesley Langdale.”

Langdale Company President Wesley Langdale thanked the company’s 1,186 employees, in addition to the company’s customers and partners for their support.

“We live here and we are raising our families here in Lowndes County. This isn’t about us or our company. It’s about providing safe and clean transportation, working forests, clean air, clean water and wildlife habitat. It’s about our future.”