Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Area News

July 13, 2013

Business eyes natural gas vehicle possibilities

"If you build it, they will come," was the promise to an Iowa farmer in the baseball classic field of dreams. But Don Demko, owner of Eco Travel Plaza in Crossville, is looking for a bit more reassurance before he continues with a plan to invest in a retail refueling station for natural gas vehicles.

"Our goal is to save people money," Demko explained. "There's an environmental benefit, but natural gas is better for everything — emissions, less dependence on foreign oil. I want to get the word out to let me know if you're interested in natural gas vehicles."

Part of that effort was a natural gas vehicle consortium held June 27 at Cumberland Mountatin State Park, hosted by Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, East Tennessee Clean Fuels and Eco Travel Plaza.

Natural gas is growing as a source of fuel for vehicles. Though natural gas is also a fossil fuel, there's ample domestic supply, experts say.

Jonathan Overly, executive director with East Tennessee Clean Fuels, said, "It reduces pollution and it's an American fuel with American jobs. It also saves the driver money."

As a vehicle fuel, natural gas offers comparable horsepower, acceleration and cruise speeds to gasoline or diesel fuel at a much lower cost, saving roughly $1.50 a gallon equivalent. Natural gas has lower particulate emissions and converted vehicles often need less frequent maintenance because the fuel burns more cleanly than gasoline.

Technology has also advanced to allow vehicles to run on both natural gas and gasoline, which can extend a vehicle's range of travel beyond areas with refueling infrastructure.

Some manufacturers are already offering natural gas models, but most vehicles can be converted to use natural gas fuel. In many cases, it means sacrificing some of the storage space in a car, because the vehicle will need larger tanks to hold the natural gas fuel.

But one thing holding consumers back from changing to natural gas vehicles is the lack of infrastructure support for the fuel source. In Tennessee, there are only two public refueling stations, one in Memphis and one in Athens, TN.

Middle Tennessee Natural Gas has already put one natural gas vehicle in service for meter reading, and it is refueled overnight. Demko is considering a refueling station that would be able to refill natural gas tanks in about the same amount of time it takes to refill a regular gasoline tank or diesel tank.

"You have to have that in a retail setting," Demko said. "We're interested in local fleets interested in converting to natural gas."

Utility companies, with their high mileage fleets, are among the first in the area converting to the fuel. Many of those utility companies are suppliers of natural gas, as well, meaning they have a ready source.

Because of the cost of converting can be several thousands of dollars, those who travel extensively and rack up miles quickly have the most to gain from the conversion and the best ability to offer a quicker payback to early adopters. The savings in fuel costs can help some companies be more competitive and gain additional business, as well, Demko said.

"They are able to shave one or two cents a mile off their costs on bids," Demko said. "That helps them grow their business and build jobs."

Crossville could offer a prime spot for compressed natural gas refueling and offer service to fleets out of both Nashville and Knoxville that have dedicated runs along that corridor of Interstate 40.

To learn more about natural gas vehicles, or to let Demko know you're interested in converting vehicles to use the fuel, email hime at You may also email Overly at or Matt Stennett with MTNG.


Text Only
Area News
  • Drug testing policy deferred until October

    With the start of the next school year only weeks away, the policy committee of the Cumberland County Board of Education decided to defer action on the extracurricular drug testing policy as implementation of changes would not occur before the 2015-’16 school year.

    July 21, 2014

  • camp nakanawa2.jpg Model recalls special rail service to Camp Nakanawa

    Camp Nakanawa, in the Mayland community of Cumberland County, dedicated a new, highly detailed diorama of the camp built over the past year by members of the Crossville Model Railroad Club.
    The large display is a very accurate scale model of the camp and includes a track where an HO model of the Tennessee Central Railroad delivers campers to their summer home.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • Souza vows to bring public comments back for vote

    While a few public comments have been made during the last several Crossville city council meetings, the fact that some think their free speech is threatened by recent council actions has lead to discussions and letters to the editor in protest.

    July 21, 2014

  • Panel considers building code options

    The Cumberland County Environmental Committee met last Thursday evening to further discuss the status of countywide building permits and its agreement with the city of Crossville, but no action was taken.

    July 21, 2014

  • Fields a possible buyer for TSUD

    Barry Field, owner of Field’s Engineering Consultant Services, LLC (FECS) has taken an interest in purchasing the highly contested waste water facility in Lake Tansi.

    July 21, 2014

  • gov. haslam.jpg Haslam to speak at Chamber membership meeting

    Crossville-Cumberland County Chamber of Commerce annual membership meeting will be held Aug. 8, 2014 at the Cumberland County Community Complex. The meeting will include awards, presentations and recognitions, with scheduled speaker, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. The Chamber would like to recognize and thank Cumberland County Bank for its platinum sponsorship of this year’s annual meeting.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Driver charged after woman injured in crash

    A motorist who witnesses said plowed into a car without touching his brakes is now facing numerous charges, including endangerment of a pregnant woman who was injured in the second vehicle.

    July 21, 2014

  • City to enter wastewater negotiations with Veolia

    With a majority of Crossville City Council members in favor of retaining Veolia as the contract operator of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, a motion to authorize City Manager David Rutherford to negotiate with the company was approved in the July council meeting in a mixed vote.

    July 21, 2014

  • VEC phone scam warned

    Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department is warning citizens of persons makeing phone calls, claiming to represent Volunteer Energy Co-op, claiming an electric bil is past due.

    July 18, 2014

  • Fiddler.jpg Historic concert to feature music of the Cumberland Mountains

    An Everlasting Music concert in Crossville will feature historic music and performances from artists who are dedicated to preserving the heritage of the music of the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Israel Bombs Multiple Targets in Gaza Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks From Space Station Widow: Jury Sent Big Tobacco a $23B Message New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts UN Security Council Calls for MH 17 Crash Probe Obama Bestows Medal of Honor on NH Veteran Texas Sending National Guard Troops to Border Hopkins to Pay $190M After Pelvic Exams Taped Foxx Cites Washington 'Circus Mirror' NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong Obama Voices Concern About Casualties in Mideast Diplomacy Intensifies Amid Mounting Gaza Toll AP Exclusive: American Beaten in Israel Speaks Obama Protects Gay, Transgender Workers Raw: Gaza Rescuers Search Rubble for Survivors Raw: International Team Inspects MH17 Bodies Raw: 25 Family Members Killed in Gaza Airstrike US Teen Beaten in Mideast Talks About Ordeal 'Weird Al' Is Wowed by Album's Success
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014