Chesapeake’s role in natural gas vehicles to fade

Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s move to lay off its natural gas vehicles team could deal a significant blow to efforts to promote the alternative vehicle fuel.

The Oklahoman reported this week that Chesapeake had cut the team and that the company has plans for further layoffs.

Chesapeake was one of the leading players pushing for wider use of natural gas vehicles and is the owner of CNG Now, a website and app that helps users of natural gas vehicles find refueling stations.

Natural gas advocates have credited Chesapeake’s work, including the CNG Now service, with making the fuel a more realistic option for consumers, even amid a dearth of refueling sites.

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Chesapeake had also worked with other companies, including GE and 3M, to develop products like home refueling kits and fuel tanks that would reduce the up-front costs and the difficulty of using natural gas as a vehicle fuel.

Chesapeake had also converted much of its commercial fleet to run on natural gas vehicles, an effort that was organized by its natural gas vehicles team.

The team also had worked with companies that set up refueling stations, such as Clean Energy Fuels Corp., to help arrange for more stations that would make the fuel a more realistic option for drivers.

Without its natural gas vehicles team, Chesapeake’s role in promoting natural gas as a vehicle fuel will be substantially diminished.

Chesapeake did not respond to emails or calls about the decision.

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