Twenty-two governors have put their combined support behind a bipartisan initiative to encourage automakers to invest and develop more alternative and bi-fuel vehicles that are more functional and affordable than ever before.
The initiative, developed more than a year ago, was the brainchild of Republican Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and the pair recently announced that their efforts have produced great results. In fact, 22 states have committed to ordering 107 vehicles in a long-term plan to convert as many trucks in their vehicle fleets to compressed-natural-gas-based vehicles as possible.
Among the big winners that hope to save taxpayers big dollars are Chrysler, Ford, GM and Honda dealerships that will sell a good cross-section of vehicles to state and local transportation agencies.
"This announcement represents a major success for CNG, and even more importantly, for our economy," Hickenlooper said. "We believe this is the start of a national movement to add much-needed fuel diversity to our nation's transportation sector while at the same time creating jobs and helping to grow local economies."
Among the vehicles purchased through local dealerships, most are full-size pickups and vans, including the Ford Super Duty and E-Series, the Ram 2500 HD CNG, the Chevy Silverado HD CNG and many others. Although CNG bi-fuel systems carry a premium cost, over the life of the vehicles, they should save each state a considerable amount of money, helping to move the country closer to foreign oil independence, putting fewer harmful emissions into the atmosphere, and supporting the local economies.
"CNG vehicles represent a key component of the movement toward American energy independence," Fallin said. "Converting state fleets to CNG promotes the use of a cleaner-burning, more affordable fuel that is made right here in the United States and supports the creation of American jobs."
More than 100 bids were submitted by dealerships in 28 states throughout the nation representing Ford, Chrysler, GM and Honda. So far, there are about 1000 public CNG stations across the country, mostly in the more densely populated urban areas, but there is a plan underway to create a network of evenly-spread stations to make easy and convenient access much less stressful. As CNG is more widely accepted, we expect to see more uniformed fuel pricing and availability.
Proposed CNG/LNG Network