Dandy Mini Mart brings natural gas pumps to Athens

By Kelly McCarthy

May 2, 2013 Updated May 2, 2013 at 7:49 PM EDT

Athens, Pa. (WBNG Binghamton) At one convenience store in Athens, Pa., it's once again possible to fill an entire tank -- of a vehicle -- for less than $30.

But the vehicle must be equipped to run on compressed natural gas.

Dandy Mini Marts celebrated Thursday the new opening of a station that only sells compressed natural gas.

It's only the second fueling station of its kind in northern Pennsylvania. Dandy Mini Mart opened its first CNG station in January in Towanda and it has plans to open one later this summer in Elmira.

"What normally makes you want to expand a business is the results of the first site," said owner Randy Williams. "And the results aren't there yet because there aren't enough CNG-powered vehicles on the road to date, so this is a second leap of faith, if you will."

His leap of faith was met with open arms by some elected officials.

"If Pennsylvania plays its card right, we could be the next Saudi Arabia of the 21st century," said Thomas Marino, (R-10th District.). "And that's what we need to do."

Chesapeake Energy is converting 50 of their business vehicles to run on CNG fuel, and promises to only fuel up at the Athens Dandy Mart.

"Chesapeake is converting our vehicles," said Michael Narcavage of Chesapeake Energy. "We were planning on doing that and we came forward and said if you're going to build a station we will give you that guaranteed fuel volume to make your station viable."

The station was built using an alternative fuels incentive grant. It teams up transit, fuel and distribution companies to take part in converting natural gas to fuel.

"For our company it just makes sense," Narcavage said. "Dairy farmers must drink their milk, we believe if we're going to produce natural gas we should utilize our natural gas. But beyond that it, makes sense from both an environmental standpoint and an economical standpoint."

Dandy Mini Mart, Chesapeake Energy and BeST Transit were recipients of the grant. BeST Transit filled up its first CNG-fueled bus during Thursday's opening ceremony.

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