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Trillium CNG, a business wing of Integrys Energy Group Inc. (TEG - Analyst Report), launched a new compressed natural gas ("CNG") fueling station located at the prime trucking route of Tulare County on Exit 85 off Interstate 99 between Fresno and Bakersfield in California.

The refueling station placed at the Roche Oil, Inc.'s Pacific Pride Cardlock at 1120 E. Paige Avenue was constructed to offer easy accessibility to heavy-duty fleet trucks. The unit is designed to have two dual-hose dispensers which allow fueling of two semitrailers simultaneously. It also features Trillium CNG’s fast-filled hydraulic intensifier compressor.

The station will serve as a primary fueling unit for Northwest Food Products Transportation LLC which currently operates 17 CNG-fueled trucks in the area. In addition to Northwest Food Products, the unit will also provide services to other CNG-powered vehicles.

CNG is yet to catch on in the U.S. as petrol and diesel still capture a major share of the transportation fuel market. The lack of public access to fueling infrastructure is acting as a deterrent for the CNG industry.As per Natural Gas Vehicle America, there are roughly 142,000 gas powered vehicles currently on the roads with only 1,325 refueling stations in place.

Integrys Energy is playing its role in the development of CNG infrastructure across the country. Since Jun 2013, the company opened 8 heavy duty public access CNG stations with the most recent one at Oak Creek in Wisconsin with its joint venture partner EVO CNG.

Integrys Energy plans to add an additional 26 sites by the end of 2014 and anticipates having a total of 61 CNG stations either under contract or in service by the end of this year. The ongoing shale boom and increasing pro-environment government mandates will likely prove to be a key catalyst for the company’s CNG initiatives.

Meanwhile, the low-cost and clean burning nature of the fuel seems to have caught the attention of the American automakers. However, it will be sometime before CNG gains precedence over diesel, as gas-fueled trucks are costlier than the existing diesel trucks.

Currently, Integrys Energy carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked utility operators include Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) Black Hills Corp. (BKH - Snapshot Report), NRG Energy Inc. (NRG - Analyst Report) and Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEP - Analyst Report).

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