In one of the more ironic twists of the nascent Natural Gas Vehicle Era, a joint venture has been formed to provide natural gas fueling services to bulk haulers of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Called Mansfield Clean Energy Partners (MCEP), the venture was created by Clean Energy Fuels and Mansfield Energy Corp., the latter being the parent of Mansfield Oil Co., one of the nation's largest bulk oil haulers. Mansfield Oil is the venture's first customer; starting in November, it will have access to a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling facility in Atlanta. A second facility, in Tampa, Fla., will open in early 2015. Mansfield has begun operating the first of 12 CNG-powered trucks it has acquired.
Patric Rayburn, a spokesman for Clean Energy, acknowledged the irony of gasoline and diesel fuel transporters' operating equipment fueled by natural gas, a fuel that could one day supplant the traditional fossil fuels as a primary source of transport energy. "It's a sign of the times," he said.
MCEP said it is in advanced discussions with several bulk fuel trucking companies, representing potentially more than 100 new CNG-powered trucks. Clean Energy is responsible for providing the fueling infrastructure to support natural gas vehicle operations. Bulk fuel haulers consume more than 3 billion gallons of fuel each year, according to a joint statement by Clean Energy and Mansfield.