T. Boone Pickens cuts ribbon on Beech Grove natural gas plant

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – T. Boone Pickens made a fortune in the oil business, but now he’s pushing alternative fuels. It’s a campaign that brought him to Indianapolis Wednesday because Indianapolis is fast becoming a leader in the use of liquefied natural gas as a fuel for cars and trucks.

The way T. Boone Pickens sees it, it’s all about reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

He came to a pumping station for liquefied natural gas in Beech Grove. It’s the second pumping station opened by Kinetrex, a subsidiary of Citizens Gas.

Pickens began pushing for the use of natural gas as a fuel back in 1988.

“Heavy duty trucks will be over to natural gas within 5 to 7 years,” he said.

“We predict that by 2020 the Midwest market for liquefied natural gas as a fuel will exceed 500,000 gallons of fuel per day,” said Citizens Gas CEO Carey Lykins.

And the two Indianapolis plants will be able to meet 40% of that demand.

To Mayor Greg Ballard it’s a matter of national security. “We are being held hostage,” he said, “and the time has come to reverse that trend.”

“Just get us off OPEC oil,” said Pickens,” because we’re paying for both sides of the war.”

Liquefied natural gas is also good for the environment. It has 20% fewer emissions than diesel fuel. It is also 35 to 45% cheaper than gas.

It may not make sense for cars, however, because electric cars may prove to be even cheaper.

Pickens points out that you can’t power an 18 wheeler with a battery.

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