A natural gas filling station opened on Tuesday this week in Norwich, Conn., according to a report in the New London Day. The station is open to city and state natural gas vehicles and to private fleets. Companies must first register and receive an electronic plug that records billing information, similar to paying at the pump with a credit card. Regular unleaded gasoline prices in Norwich start at about $2.10 per gallon, and diesel costs about $2.35 per gallon. A “gas gallon equivalent” of compressed natural gas costs $1.39 and is tax-free, according to the report. Compressed natural gas emits 70 percent less smog-contributing gases and 80 percent less of the emissions that cause global warming. Cost savings can be outweighed by the added price of a natural gas burning vehicle. For example, a natural gas-fueled Ford Crown Victoria costs about $5,000 more than its gasoline-fueled counterpart. Norwich is one of about 80 cities nationwide in the Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program. Other natural gas filling stations are becoming available along the Interstate 95 corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston. A station in Hartford opened recently. The city of Banning, Calif., unveiled a state-of-the-art compressed natural gas pump this month, according to a report in the Riverside Press-Telegram. The pump is open to the public. It fills a tank in three minutes, where the old pump filled tanks in 40 minutes. It also has a computer diagnostics feature, allowing users to hook up to it with a laptop to see how their engine is functioning.