Benefits of Natural Gas

Homes and businesses throughout the City of Starke love natural gas because of its lower cost and high efficiency. But there are many other benefits and features that come into play when natural gas is used wherever and whenever possible.  


  • Natural gas costs less to use than all other fossil fuels and electricity.
  • More than 99 out of 100 professional chefs prefer natural gas. The other guy makes sushi.
  • Natural gas dries clothes in roughly half the time, at half the cost, with fewer wrinkles than its electric counterpart.
  • Instant temperature control when cooking with natural gas range.
  • With a natural gas tank-less water heater, you can take a shower all day long. It heats water faster than you use it.
  • Natural gas tank water heaters refresh much faster and cost much less to use than electric.
  • More than 70% of the nation heats their homes with natural gas. The other 30% does not have a pipeline nearby or has not signed up yet.
  • For all the above reasons, homes with natural gas, on average, have a 6% higher resale value than non-gas homes. (Source: NHBA – National Home Builders Association)


  • After a hurricane or storm, when the power goes out, people with natural gas water heaters and ranges can still take hot showers and cook meals until the power comes back.
  • Natural gas stand-by generators are also available, capable of powering an entire household, to sustain operation for all standard electric appliances as well.

Environmentally Friendly

  • The direct use of natural gas by homes and businesses dramatically reduces the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. (Imagine if the entire world switched to natural gas and stopped using so much oil and coal.)
  • The more compressed natural gas (CNG) used for transportation, the less foreign oil needed to import.


  • Natural gas is America’s own natural resource – building independence from foreign oil.
  • In Florida, because of natural gas’ affordability and clean burning nature, 85% of the natural gas consumed in Florida is by power companies.
  • We have enough natural gas in the America’s to last for hundreds of years.

What is natural gas?
Natural gas is a naturally occurring fuel extracted from deep within the earth. It is not one gas but a mixture of various naturally occurring gases. The types of gases in this stew vary from well to well. Natural gas is primarily methane, but also contains other flammable gases such as propane, butane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Since natural gas is colorless and odorless in its native state, it is mandatory by the Federal Government to use an odorant to make it readily detectable.

What should I do when there is a strong gas odor in the house?

  1. Leave the house immediately.
  2. DO NOT make calls from your home. Phones can produce a spark, which could start a fire or explosion. Contact the City of Starke at 904-964-5027 from a phone outside and away from your home. 
  3. DO NOT light a match or other combustible material. Likewise, DO NOT turn any light switches on or off, and DO NOT plug or unplug electrical appliances such as a television or vacuum cleaner. These activities also can produce a spark that could start a fire or explosion. 
  4. Do not re-enter the house until the gas company finds the source of the leak and corrects it.

Is it safe to use the gas meter for electric bonding?
No! Electric bonding to or use of City of Starke service piping, gas risers or meter facilities for electric grounding is not permitted. Use caution when touching gas meters. Faulty household appliances or faulty household electrical wiring could inadvertently introduce electricity to gas facilities.

What are other properties of natural gas?

  • Natural Gas is Nontoxic
    Natural gas contains no toxic poisonous ingredients that can be absorbed into the blood when inhaled.
  • Natural Gas is Lighter Than Air
    If natural gas escapes into the atmosphere, it dissipates rapidly. A heavier-than-air gas, such as propane or gasoline fumes, would settle and accumulate near the ground.
  • Natural Gas is Colorless
    When mixed with the proper amount of air and ignited, invisible natural gas burns with a clean, blue flame. It is one of the cleanest burning fuels, producing primarily heat, carbon dioxide and water vapor.
  • Natural Gas is Odorless
    When taken from the ground, natural gas is odorless. A harmless but pungent odor is added as a safety precaution. The odorant is so powerful you can smell even the smallest quantity of gas in the event of a leak.
  • Natural Has Narrow Combustion Limits
    This helps ensure predictable, safe use. Natural gas will only ignite when there is an air-and-gas mixture of between 5 and 15 percent natural gas. Any mixture containing less than 5 percent or greater than 15 percent natural gas will not ignite.
  • Natural Gas Reduces Our Dependence on Foreign-oil Imports
    More than 90 percent of the natural gas Americans use comes from the lower 48 states. The rest comes from Canada.
  • Natural Gas Contributes to a Cleaner Environment
    It is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel available. It helps improve air and water quality, especially when used in place of more polluting energy sources. When natural gas burns, virtually no harmful pollutants are produced.

Are all gas department employees required to be qualified to work with or around Natural Gas?
Yes! The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) issued a final operator qualification (OQ) rule in August 1999 that was the result of negotiation among federal pipeline safety officials, America Gas Association (AGA) and allied natural gas industry representatives and others. The rule gave operators until October 26, 2002, to qualify the workforce performing covered tasks during pipeline operations and maintenance. This effort was successfully completed.

The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 directed DOT to put in place standards and criteria to evaluate such programs and issue a report to Congress. To comply with the law, AGA and other pipeline industry representatives worked with state and federal regulators to develop “audit protocols” to aid regulators in evaluating operator qualification programs. Stakeholders also developed computer-based software and other technology to support a national infrastructure for operator qualification programs.

The DOT report to congress concluded that:

  • Operators showed a strong willingness to quickly address inspection findings and improve their OQ programs.
  • Events attributable to human error and to operator excavation damage have been on a downward trend over the last five years. Because the number of such events is small, and because operator programs continue to mature, it is too soon to attribute these trends with great certainty to the OQ program.

AGA expects DOT to make minor modifications to the OQ regulation. The national trade associations support adding requirements for training when appropriate and a five-year maximum requalification interval. The trade associations do not endorse including new construction in the OQ program but note that many AGA member companies have voluntarily include new construction in the OQ programs.

The Pipeline Safety Act of 2006 requires DOT to issue regulations to address fatigue and other human factors for pipeline controllers by June 1, 2008. The OQ program will likely be a major element in satisfying the human factors portion of the new regulation.