Lambert St. Louis Airport is upgrading the way it fuels its fleet of vehicles. Monday the Laclede Group and Siemens held a groundbreaking for a new natural gas fueling station at the airport.
The station will serve 160 fleet vehicles that run on compressed natural gas - a fuel that's considerably cheaper than gasoline.
Laclede Group CEO Suzanne Sitherwood says the station will also be available for the public to use.
"Oftentimes, people may have 2 cars in their family and one can be used for long-distance traveling," Sitherwood said. "And as these stations pop up, it gives them a chance to convert their second (or first) vehicle at their home."
Sitherwood says the natural gas will come from offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and from shale gas locations throughout the US.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay was at the groundbreaking ceremony, and says it's part of his long-term sustainability plan. The Democratic mayor says about 85 percent of the airport's fleet will run on compressed natural gas. But he echoed Sitherwood's comments, saying it's important that the station is also open to the public.
"If you have an electric vehicle and you have to plug it in somewhere, if you don't have a plugging in place, it makes it very difficult to travel lots of places," Slay said. "It's the same thing with compressed natural gas."
Compressed natural gas is currently around $2.10 nationally, compared to gasoline's $3.45 nationally.
Slay touted compressed natural gas as being cleaner than other fuels, although the practice of extracting through hydraulic fracturing has been the subject of much recent scrutiny.
The station will join two other CNG stations in the St. Louis area when it opens later this year.
Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter: @csmcdaniel