In an effort to help reduce the cost of gasoline and tap into one of Texas’ abundant natural resources, Tyler city leaders on Wednesday introduced Tyler’s first compressed natural gas station.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of the CNG at Tyler’s Vehicle Service Center. The station will initially provide natural gas to run 17 city fleet vehicles, including two solid waste trucks and a vehicle-driven forklift.

Russ Jackson, Director of Fleet Management, said natural gas is a cleaner alternative by reducing emissions and will cuts the cost of gasoline by more than half, citing natural gas costs about $1.49 per gallon compared to $3.79 for the current cost of regular fuel.

Jackson said the pilot program has been in the works for more than a year and half and was a direct outcome of the Industry Growth Initiative adopted by the Tyler community in 2010.

Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass said, “with the development of horizontal drilling and the discovery of the Haynesville Shale, the Oil and Gas Sector will play an important role in Tyler’s economic future.”

21st Century Energy was identified in the Industry Growth Initiative as a legacy industry – critical to the diversification of Tyler’s economy and evolution into an innovation economy.