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Instead of just cutting a ribbon, participants in an opening ceremony at the University at Buffalo today got a chance to step on the gas -- with a twist.

Alternative fuel cars and utility vehicles were available for test drives as UB and Clean Communities of Western New York celebrated the opening of the area's newest compressed natural-gas filling station, on the North Campus in Amherst.

Built with state, county and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority funding, the station will be used to fuel UB and Town of Amherst vehicles that burn natural gas. Sweet Home School District vehicles will be added to the mix in the near future, officials said.

A recent survey indicates there are now more than 400 such low-emission vehicles in Western New York and that the fuel now costs about 30 percent less than a comparable unit of gasoline. National Fuel operates the refueling stations, which are open to the public.

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