The Norman Transcript

April 25, 2013

Clean Cities coalition hosts alternative fuel symposium with Ride and Drive event

Transcript Staff
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Central Oklahoma Clean Cities will host an alternative fuel symposium for businesses and government entities operating fleets of any size from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m on May 9 on the Oklahoma City campus of Oklahoma State University. Morning and lunchtime sessions will include local and regional experts discussing the benefits of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles including natural gas, propane and electric drive vehicles.

A Ride & Drive event will be held in the afternoon on the closed track of OSU-OKC’s Public Safety Training Center. Attendees will have the opportunity to see and drive the newest commercially available alternative fuel vehicles. Clean Cities representatives will be on site to provide insight, resources and recommendations to fleet owners and managers considering purchasing or leasing alternative fuel vehicles.

“One of the benefits of switching to alternative fuels and vehicles can be cost savings, and we help our partners put pen to paper to determine which fuels and vehicles make the most financial sense for them,” said Yvonne Anderson, director of Clean Cities of Central Oklahoma.

The University of Oklahoma, which makes use of a variety of alternative fuels for nearly half of the vehicles in its 400-vehicle fleet, saves $1.50 per gallon, upwards of $110,000 annually, by using natural gas instead of regular gasoline. 

“Fleets also switch to alternative fuels because it supports the production of domestic fuels and improves the air quality for Central Oklahoma citizens,” said Anderson.

More than 60 percent of the emissions that form ground-level ozone in Central Oklahoma come from mobile sources that include cars and trucks as well as construction equipment, lawnmowers, weed trimmers and leaf blowers. Ozone Alerts are issued in Central Oklahoma during summer months on hot, sunny, windless days when conditions are most favorable for the accumulation of unhealthy levels of ground-level ozone. At these times outdoor activities can be especially dangerous for infants and children, older adults, and people suffering from conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease.

Central Oklahoma Clean Cities partners currently displace about 3 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel each year with alternative fuels and other petroleum reduction technologies, and nationally Clean Cities partners have saved more than 3 billion gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel since the program began in 1993.

“Being a Clean Cities partner means we stay in touch with what’s happening in the alternative fuel and vehicle industry, which is invaluable when building an alternative fuel program like ours,” said Leon Fourcade, fleet services administrator for the University of Oklahoma. “We have also been able to take advantage of Clean Cities and Association of Central Oklahoma grant solicitations to help fund or offset the cost of alternative fuel projects.”

At the May 9 event, local and regional alternative fuel experts will speak about the advantages of compressed natural gas, propane and electric drive technologies and the incentives available for switching to alternative fuels, like tax credits and loan programs. Speakers will also cover maintenance recommendations for alternative fuel vehicles, technician certification requirements and equipment safety inspections.

The Ride & Drive event will feature a Nissan Leaf electric drive vehicle, a plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt, several natural gas vehicles including the Westport Wing Ford F250 and Ram 2500 Crew Cab, and two propane autogas-powered Ford F150 and Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks.

The cost to attend is $30 per person, and attendees must pre-register. To register or for more information, visit www.cleancitiesok.org/fleet. The event is sponsored by the Central Oklahoma Clean Cities Coalition and program at the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments, and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

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