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Argonne tool predicts economic impacts of building new natural gas stations

Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have developed a new tool for analyzing the economic impacts of building new compressed natural gas fueling stations. Called JOBS NG, the tool is freely available to the public.

JOBS NG is designed to help states and local governments evaluate possible economic benefits related to natural gas stations when they are setting new policies. It can also help developers quantify proposals.

Our model estimates the jobs created and economic output at every stage in the process, beginning with station design and construction and continuing through the operation and maintenance of the station and the sale of natural gas fuel.

—Marianne Mintz, Argonne systems analyst who built the tool

The analysis extends to the equipment for the station—accounting for the raw materials that go into components as they are mined, refined, distributed and assembled. The model, which is customizable by state or census region, also accounts for ripple effects as new jobholders purchase goods and services elsewhere in the economy

JOBS NG is the third in a series of tools designed to estimate economic impacts of energy investments, all based on standard equations used by the Department of Labor to estimate the effects of investment dollars in a region. Earlier tools calculated similar impacts for developing hydrogen fueling stations and for deploying fuel cells in forklifts and for backup power. All three tools are available online, along with information and guides for using the models.

Development of this tool was supported by the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities program, an initiative of the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Clean Cities works with a network of nearly 100 coalitions to advance the nation’s economic, environmental and energy security by supporting local actions that reduce transportation-sector petroleum consumption.

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