PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thousands of drivers have made the switch to hybrid cars, which run on gas and electricity. But there’s a push now to get more people into cars powered by natural gas.

One of the region’s largest retailers is offering compressed natural gas, but who really benefits from it?

You probably won’t be able to fill your car with natural gas, but officials with Giant Eagle say it’s a logical step.

“We have always been a company interested in new innovations,” said Bill Parry, of Giant Eagle.

The new pumps are at the company’s service center in Crafton. It’s cleaner and cheaper to fill up; but because of the complex tanks needed, a car that runs on it costs an extra $3,000 to $5,000 over its gas-powered equivalent.

“In terms of clean air and ending foreign oil dependency, it’s huge; and as we know, Allegheny County and other counties have challenging air pollution issues,” said Michael Krancer, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection secretary.

The technology could get a big boost through Marcellus Shale drilling.

“What do you do with the gas? I don’t want to ship it out of Pa. We need to take advantage of keeping it in Pennsylvania. We don’t have to transport it. It’s here in our backyard,” Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato. “So, why don’t we take the lead in showing the rest of the country what we can do with natural gas?”

Giant Eagle, through its Talon Logistics subsidiary, converted about 10 of its trucks to run on natural gas. But consider the fact that there are still very few cars on the roads that use natural gas, and the question becomes – how long will Giant Eagle invest in it until it catches on?

“We like to be first and we think it’s the right thing to do, but we want to make sure it works financially,” said Parry. “So, we are committed, this is the right thing for the company to do for the bottom line.”

If you do have a natural gas car, remember one thing — no FuelPerks, at least not yet.

Giant Eagle
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