The Genetti Hotel recently purchased a 15-passenger van that runs entirely on natural gas and shuttles passengers to and from the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville.
"We're totally dedicated to the advancement of natural gas vehicles," said Gus Genetti, owner of Genetti Hotel and Suites.
The Ford E-350 has eight cylinders, can go up to about 500 miles on a single tank of natural gas and accelerates with as much power as any van with that size engine, he said.
It is parked along William Street outside of the front lobby.
It is the first alternative fuel-powered van to be used at the hotel on West Fourth Street.
Blue in color, the van arrived in time to transport passengers staying at the hotel and those attending the Little League World Series in South Williamsport.
"We've taken four trips daily," said Marc Schefsky, hotel general manager.
New vans of this sort cost $45,000 to $50,000, he said.
Once the Series is over, Schefsky expects fewer passengers. "Six to eight trips a week," he said.
Exhaust fumes are odorless and water collects at the tailpipe.
Interviewed Friday, Genetti was excited to read an Associated Press report which also ran in that day's Sun-Gazette that carbon dioxide levels reportedly have dropped to a 20-year low because of plentiful supplies of natural gas and a transitioning away from dirtier-burning coal plants.
The gasoline equivalent of natural gas to power a vehicle is $2.40 per gallon, Genetti said.
Distribution availability across the state is another part of the developing story.
Plans are in the works to build a commercial and public fueling station at the River Valley Transit garage, 1500 W. Third St.
Pennsylvania College of Technology, which has its own distribution point, permitted Genetti use of the site to fill the van's tank.
Until the county transportation center is open, the van will be transported by trailer to State College, Schefsky said.
William E. Nichols, general manager of River Valley Transit, said he anticipates the commercial portion to be ready in two months while the public area, which will be outside a fence closer to the street, could take another year, he said.
"Genetti has been a proponent of using the fuel since its inception and became a corporate partner in our compressed natural gas focus group," Nichols said.
Other commercial fleets that operate on the fuel source, including those in the county and perhaps in the future, school districts, might be users, Nichols said.
The city plans to add a fee to the cost of the fuel to pay for administrative costs, and anticipates saving half of what it was spending before for gasoline, Nichols said.
State and federal transportation grants are being used to pay for the design and construction phases of the facility, Nichols said.
The first of four multi-seat River Valley Transit buses, built at a factory in California, is supposed to arrive in about a month, Nichols said.
The full conversion of the city's transit fleet is expected to be completed within five to seven years, he said.