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    Kwik Trip Gaining Experience With Both LNG & CNG

    C-store retailer uses alternative fuels in its own fleet and shares knowledge.

    LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Now that Kwik Trip Inc. sells compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) at 15 of its 430 fueling stations, the convenience store retailer has gained valuable experience regarding both alternative fuels.

    In fact, Kwik Trip has converted 34 of its own trucks and tractors to CNG and LNG to arm its managers with even more knowledge regarding both alternative fuels, which are purported to be cleaner burning, locally abundant and less expensive than their gasoline counterpart.

    "We wanted to look at them both, to learn the advantages and disadvantages, to learn how to spec them so that as we talk to fleet customers, we can speak to our experiences," Joel Hirschboeck, Kwik Trip's superintendent of alternatives fuels, told Truckinginfo.com.

    Although natural gas currently sells for about $2 less than gasoline at the pump, fleet operators and members of the general public do have things to consider when purchasing such vehicles. The sticker price for natural gas-operated vehicles is considerably higher than petroleum-powered vehicles. In addition, CNG and LNG fueling stations are still limited throughout the country.

    Vehicle range is another consideration. An LNG truck or tractor has a 600-mile range, while CNG trucks can travel approximately 450 miles before a refill is needed.

    "We don't need the longer range, so we will go toward CNG and refuel en route on the longer runs," Hirschboeck said of Kwik Trip's own fleet.

    The retailer sells about 1,000 gallons of natural gas a day, including to the public, the news source reported.

    As for which natural gas option is better, it depends on what fits your particular application, according to Hirschboeck. "LNG's biggest advantage is more energy in a smaller container," he told Truckinginfo.com. "Of course, infrastructure is important and CNG is less costly for that."

    La Crosse, Wis.-based Kwik Trip Inc. operates c-stores and gas stations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.

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