Well, here they go again, Naperville city officials want to go into partnership with another company, Trillium, a private compressed natural gas (CNG) provider. The Naperville city council will be considering throwing in $300,000 to the $2 million cost for construction for a CNG station to be built near Jefferson and Ogden on city owned property near the Naperville Test Track. The property would be leased to Trillium in a ten-year contract.
Naperville’s portion will come from Chicago’s Drive Clean Station Grant Program, which Naperville city officials see as free money, but as we know, it’s not free money. It comes from somewhere, and that ‘somewhere’ is us, the taxpayers.
Naperville city officials have tried previously to go into ‘partnership’ with various groups for ventures which have proven to be a total disaster for residents and businesses including the Illinois Municipal Electric Agency. Electric rates in Naperville have skyrocketed, with no end in sight, and apparently no way to get out of the contract that the Naperville city council so abundantly and mistakenly approved.
The problem with Naperville city officials is that they often don’t think things through and don’t consider unintended consequences. They chase the “free money”, vote ‘yes’ on an issue, and then wonder later how they got duped. The problem then becomes the residents’ problem. As Naperville City Manager, Doug Krieger, arrogantly stated, “when you dig a financial hole, the way to fix it, is with more cash, and the way you get more cash is from the rate payers”:
Naperville Public Works Director, Dick Dublinski said the station would provide fuel for 25% of the City’s fleet of about 500 trucks which would be converted to operate on CNG. This is not an inexpensive process. If it’s such a great idea, why not convert the entire fleet? The answer might be ‘wiggle room’. If the City is going to make another mistake, they want it to be a 25% mistake, rather than the 100% mistake that IMEA has turned out to be.
Supporters for CNG state the following supposed advantages:
- Cleaner and cheaper fuel than gas or diesel
- Relatively abundant compared to fossil fuels
- Easier to transport and store
- Less harmful to the environment
Critics of CNG, state the following as some of the disadvantages:
- CNG vehicles cost more than the gas or diesel versions of the same vehicle
- CNG vehicles have a shorter range than gas or diesel vehicles
- The fuel economy of CNG vehicles is lower than gas or diesel counterparts
- CNG requires more space in the engine cylinder, thereby reducing the amount of air in the engine, resulting in reduced power
- Converting gas or diesel vehicles into CNG vehicles is expensive, negating any fuel savings.
Dublinski referring that CNG is better for the environment, said “That’s what we do in Naperville.” The same can be said for ‘not thinking things through’.