Thursday, October 18, 2012

Should I buy wind power from PSO? (Short answer - NO.)

PSO advertises that customers can elect to join "WindChoice".  The extra cost is stated to be $1.72 per 100 kilowatt-hours.  This is 1.72 cents per kWh.

Now let's see how that would affect my last PSO power bill.  Here's the itemization from my last bill:

My metered usage was 1,306 kWh, so my average cost per kWh was $107.60 / 1,306 kWh = 8.24 cents per kWh.

Now, you would think that the bill would increase by the ratio of the WindChoice cost (1.72 cents) by my current cost (8.24 cents), which is a 20% INCREASE in my power bill.  HOWEVER, what is this "Fuel Rate" adjustment that deducted $23.11 from my last bill?  To answer that, I went to the PSO WindChoice FAQ "How will WindChoice affect my monthly PSO bills?" and "How does the WindChoice program affect my fuel charge?"

It turns out that if I chose WindChoice, that power would not receive the "Fuel Rate" credit, as shown in PSO's answer.

So, with this information, my power bill last month would have been 45% higher if I had chosen WindChoice.

That's not economic and therefore that is not practical environmentalism.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

CNG use saved CNG Injun almost $3,000 in one year

Bill Edwards, aka CNG Injun, recently explained his sustainability plan to me:
It has been just over a year since I started driving my 2004 F-150 Bi-Fuel CNG truck. It was obvious to me that I was saving money every time I filled up, boy I sure love to see those $8-$12 fill-ups! I knew that I had saved a lot over this past year, but really wanted to quantify the total value of the savings. 
Doing a quick calculation based on buying CNG for half of the cost of regular gas came up with a savings of $3,452, but knowing that the assumption was not always true, I came up with a better way to do the calculation by exporting my CNG consumption records into MS Excel.
Then I found the historical data for the price of regular gasoline in the Tulsa, OK area at Gas Buddy.  The price of gasoline in Tulsa over the past 18 months varied from $2.92 to $3.75.

As I am not trying to prove I discovered cold fusion, I took the liberty of simplifying the data entry process by using the gasoline price from the graph for every date datapoint. 
After plugging all of the numbers into the spreadsheet, the data of the CNG usage looked like this:

That’s right, the bottom line savings in fuel cost was around $2,880 on an annual basis. If I continue to drive about 22,000 miles each year and assuming that the truck can last 6 more years (up to a total of 172,000 miles on the odometer), I should be able to save a total of $20,160 in fuel costs! That is enough to buy a replacement vehicle twice as nice as this one with the savings! Now that’s what I call a sustainability plan…no capital investment for vehicles from now on, just maintenance and fuel! You got to love that CNG!

Truck bed storage considerations

Now that Dodge, Chevy, and Ford CNG bi-fuel trucks are becoming available again, folks are asking about what kind of truck bed storage options can be used with the CNG tank mounted in the bed.

Safety first.  

Safety code (NFPA 52, Texas Code shown here) require "All pressure relief devices and pressure-carrying components installed within a closed compartment shall be vented to the outside of the vehicle in a suitable location."  This does not apply to CNG components under the truck hood and in the truck bed - until you cover the truck bed with a tonneau cover or a camper shell.

So, if a truck bed storage system is used that closes in the bed, including the CNG tank, then a venting system must be installed first.  Note that the Honda Civic, which has the CNG tank in the trunk, has a venting system installed at the factory.

The second consideration is that most of the truck bed mounted CNG tanks extend above the side of the truck bed sides which makes a tonneau cover nearly impossible.

Weather Guard Truck Drawer

An easy solution I've seen is the use of a WeatherGuard steel storage box with a drawer.  This avoids the whole CNG tank venting issue by leaving the bed open and keeps the contents dry, secure, and easily accessible via the large pullout drawer.  The box can hold up to 425 lb of weight on top of it.    Downside is that it would be difficult to haul a refrigerator in the truck (but that's impossible with a hard shell tonneau cover or camper shell also).

Friday, September 7, 2012

Learn about saving fuel $'s at the Tulsa CNG Summit

I'm honored to participate in the Light Duty Vehicle roundtable discussion in the September 19 Tulsa Clean Cities CNG Summit.  GM, Chrysler, Honda, & two of Ford's Qualified Vehicle Modifiers, Westport & Venchurs will be participating as well.

It's an exciting time for Oklahoma drivers that want to save money on fuel because the automotive industry is now adding fully engineered and serviced vehicles to their offerings.  The market share available in Oklahoma for CNG vehicle manufacturers is enormous due to:

  1. Abundant CNG refueling stations which can be found with CNGNow's iPhone app & website
  2. CNG prices of $1.35 to $1.85 per gallon of gasoline equivalent (same mpg as gasoline)
  3. Oklahoma income tax credit of 50%
  4. ONG's $2,500/$1,500 vehicle rebate
There will be CNG vehicles on display, Governor Fallin's keynote address, Stephen Yborra's "Compelling Case for NGV's", and more.  Register to attend at the CNG Summit webpage and come learn how you can run your fleet on fuel with a $1 "handle".

Monday, March 12, 2012

Save Money, Drive Green

Here's the story of Bill Edwards (aka "CNGInjun" on Twitter).  Click here to view the original article in PDF form.

Nabholz Sustainability on the Road
Save Money, Drive Green: Bill Edwards, Tulsa

Everybody knows that contractors love their trucks, and with those trucks come big fuel bills.

Bill Edwards, senior project manager in Tulsa, got tired of spending money.  So he made a change that is paying off.

"I travel many miles each month for Nabholz business, and because of that I ended up selling my Dodge pickup truck several years ago and down sized to a Honda Accord (going from 12 MPG to 30 MPG was a big jump).  Since I recently moved from the OKC office to the Tulsa office and started building a new house, I really needed a pickup again."

Bill's friend in the natural gas industry talked up the benefits of bi-fuel vehicles and compressed natural gas (CNG).  "After seeing the success my friend has had with his "fleet" of CNG vehicles, I knew that I had to get one myself," Bill says.  He purchased a bi-fuel truck.

It isn't all a piece of cake, but times are changing.  At first finding fuel was a challenge, but more stations are coming online with CNG.  If you have a bi-fuel vehicle, using a different fuel type is simple, but the process can be costly if you try to convert a regular vehicle to CNG.

"One of the biggest advantages CNG provides is the price.  A classic example is a driver who uses natural gas vehicle (NGV) that is powered by CNG for about 50 miles daily.  This car owner is able to save more than $2,068 per year by taking advantage of the $1.29 per gasoline gallon equivalent CNG when compared to other drivers who pay $3.00 per gallon for gas.  CNG is typically at least 50% cheaper than gasoline.  Right now in Tulsa the difference is $1.29 vs $2.99 (or 57% cheaper)," Bill explains.

Not only is CNG cheaper, it gives consumers fuel economy.  Regardless of the fuel type used, the mileage per gallon is the same.  "Consider the price of gasoline and how far you can drive for $50: with CNG in my F-150 truck I can go 581 miles on CNG and with regular gasoline I can only go 250 miles.  That makes a huge difference when looked at over a long period of time," he says.

When compared to regular gasoline, CNG emits fewer harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons,  nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides.  These contribute to air pollution, cause health problems, and a host of environmental problems.

When comparing CNG to other alternative fuels, it is the only one that could be a "complete" replacement for foreign oil.  "Emergency generators, school buses and trash trucks are running on CNG right now in Tulsa.  How long would it take to develop any other alternative fuel to do that?"

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Too busy to blog, but new articles in draft

I continue to "microblog" on Facebook and Twitter from my iPhone - just follow "burnusgas" on those sites for updates.

Upcoming blog articles:
1. All about the CNG Chevy Tahoe
2. Friend's experiences with CNG trucks - James' 2003 F-150, David's 2001 F-150, Stephen's 2005 Chevy, Bill's 2004 F-150 (all of these trucks are OEM with Ford and Chevy service manuals that cover all the CNG components)
3. How you can buy a CNG Tahoe
4. Grand opening of the new Apache CNG station at I-44 & Yale.

I continue to enjoy cheap fuel with the 2010 Honda Civic GX and the 2011 Chevy Tahoe - $1.29 at ONG stations and $1.69 at Tulsa Gas Technologies.  You can see my historical fueling info at

CNG Now has launched a great smartphone app for locating nearby CNG stations.