Cleveland Auto Show features vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas

CLEVELAND - Fracking is controversial. Some homeowners are cashing in while others want the wells out of their neighborhood.

No matter how you feel about the practice, it's helping fuel a new type of car. At the Cleveland Auto Show there's a car on display that you can power for less than a dollar a gallon at home. This car uses green energy and will put more green in your wallet.

"You think about, where you are going and how fast you are driving. Like I go 65 mph instead of 70 on the freeway now. You cut corners here or there," driver Phil Becker said.

High gas prices are fueling demand for cars that use alternative energy. Becker has his eyes on a car that uses compressed natural gas or CNG.

"I think it's a great concept. Great idea," Becker said.

The idea is popular with businesses, but it's just taking off in the consumer market. A Honda Civic on display at the show costs about $7,000 more than a Civic that uses regular gas, but you'll pay half as much for gas. The price at a CNG station is less than $2 a gallon.

"This car will go 1,000 miles for $60. My hybrid doesn't even do that," said Andrew Chiarelli, alternative fuel vehicle manager for motorcars Cleveland.

Motorcars Cleveland sold 10 of these cars in the last seven months, and the majority of the sales were to consumers.

"That's not a lot, but it's a lot since I didn't sell 10 in 2011 or 2012," Chiarelli said.

The biggest drawback is the lack of stations that sell CNG. There are two stations in the Cleveland area and one in Canton. They came online in recent months.

"Until we have a half dozen stations in every city, I don't think this will pick up," Chiarelli said.

There are businessmen out there trying to make that happen. Joe Miller is in the gas industry and expects to sell the equipment to gas stations.

"Gas station owners are curious about CNG and the future it may have," Miller said.

Until that happens, you can install your own CNG fueling station at your home. The equipment will cost $8,000 and you'll pay less than a dollar for a gallon of gas.

Becker is holding off for now.

"There are a lot of positives to it, but I don't think it's ready for primetime given the infrastructure," Becker said.

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