Story by The Republic, www.azcentral.com
People who buy a new Fulton home in Queen Creek can add a natural-gas pump in the garage if they want to commute with an alternative-fuel vehicle.
The new option will cost about $6,000, adding about $28 to the monthly mortgage payment, Fulton officials said.
Fulton Homes unveiled the program with Southwest Gas Corp. and AutoNation Honda on Wednesday.
“We are extremely excited to be involved in the gas-distribution business,” CEO Doug Fulton said, standing in the garage of a model home in Queen Creek Station, which eventually will have 674 homesites.
Home prices range from about $240,000 to $500,000, with models running 1,900 to 4,200 square feet.
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all, been there done that, someone comes up with something new,” Fulton said.
Driving an alternatively fueled vehicle allows commuters to use the high-occupancy vehicle lanes on the region’s freeways. This will likely be important to homeowners in the development that is about 40 miles from downtown Phoenix.
“This would be ideal for someone who lives here and commutes to Phoenix or Tempe,” said Dennis Webb, vice president of operations for Fulton.
As of June 30, Arizona had 3,826 registered vehicles that run only on compressed natural gas, according to the Department of Transportation.
The homes will also come with two gas meters, as Southwest Gas charges a lower rate for gas used for transportation than for gas used on household appliances such as grills and dryers.
The pumps dispense about a half-gallon of gas per hour, taking several hours to fill an empty tank. But commuters are able to avoid gas stations by topping off the tank each night, officials said.
“You pull up, plug in, go inside, cook a meal on your gas range and come back in a few hours and you will be filled up,” said Jose Esparza, vice president of energy solutions at Southwest Gas.
Honda lists a suggested retail price for the new natural-gas Civic as $26,740.
The popularity of such vehicles is increasing with the rising production of natural gas in the U.S. For example, Ford announced in May that the 2016 F-150 truck will be the first in its class to offer a natural-gas-powered version of the vehicle.
“Natural gas is an abundant resource throughout the country right now,” Esparza said.
Officials said the majority of homebuyers in communities served by natural gas upgrade their new homes to include gas appliances.
“Fulton has shown you can build a quality, beautiful, affordable house and it can be energy efficient,” Esparza said.