TYLER (KYTX) - Violence in Iraq has sent gas prices up, and they're hitting drivers hard.
One Tyler Fed Ex contractor prepared for the increase and any more to come, by bringing a compressed natural gas, or CNG truck into his fleet. Now people around the state are taking notice of the new trend starting here.
The CNG FedEx step van was just brought to East Texas seven months ago.
Josh Carver and his father are FedEx contractors who own a fleet of trucks that run routes throughout East Texas.
"The Tyler route does about 40 miles a day and the other ones in Longview and Henderson do anywhere from 120 to 180 miles," Carver says.
That's a lot of driving every day. Imagine the money they spend on diesel, especially with the price at $3.69 a gallon. So when their truck dealer told them about a CNG truck he had, for about $7,000 more than a diesel truck, they went for it.
"It drives completely the same!" Carver says.
It looks the same as the other trucks too. The only difference are the CNG stickers, and of course the huge savings on gas money.
"With CNG at $2 a gallon it just makes sense," Carver says. "Plus, it runs cleaner so you change the oil less."
On average the CNG truck costs $50 a day to fill up, which is half of the average $100 needed to fill up the diesel trucks each day.
As violence in the middle east continues to push gas prices up -- the demand for CNG vehicles is on the rise.
"They're building a second CNG station in Longview, there's one in Tyler and the orders for CNG conversions are backed up for months," Carver says.
Not to mention, there are state incentives and tax write offs to the people who choose to drive CNG vehicles.
"We're trying to order five more trucks," Carver says.
Other contractors are calling Carver to see if the CNG truck is worth buying, and every time, he says 'yes.'
They say as gas prices continue to rise, they expect other companies, especially here in East Texas to follow suit. The Taxi Cab Company of Tyler recently converted its entire fleet of cars to compressed natural gas. The company helped build and open the new CNG station, which is open in downtown Tyler on Bois D'Arc street.