By Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Norman Transcript
OKLAHOMA CITY — Taxpayers will save millions in expenses, thanks to developments in a multi-state CNG vehicle initiative, Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday.
Fallin and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the preliminary results of the 22-state initiative during an energy conference hosted by the Oklahoma governor at the Cox Convention Center.
The event, presented by the Oklahoma Secretary of Energy and Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business, featured speakers including Google’s Neha Palmer, Oklahoma Energy Secretary Michael Ming, executives from Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Devon Energy Corporation, Michael O’Sullivan, senior vice president of development for Florida’s NextEra Energy Resources, and OG&E Chairman and CEO Peter Delaney.
Fallin, a Republican, and Hickenlooper, a Democrat, are leading a bi-partisan group of 22 states seeking to use compressed natural gas vehicles in their state fleets.
A year ago, the governors announced the start of the initiative during a similar conference in Oklahoma City. Thursday’s action came after the governors met with auto manufacturers in Detroit, after they issued a request in July for proposals soliciting bids for CNG sedans, pickups and vans to be used in state fleets and after they received support from 20 other states.
“States will now have the incentive and ability to begin converting their fleets to CNG while saving millions of dollars in taxpayer money,” Fallin said.
More than 100 bids were submitted by dealerships in 28 states throughout the nation representing Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and Honda, Fallin said.
According to the governor’s office awards given through the multi-state request for proposal will result in:
· A roughly 16 percent reduction in cost for 3/4-ton CNG pickups, resulting in a savings of $5,800;
· A roughly 8 percent reduction for CNG compact sedans, a $2,100 savings;
· A roughly 4 percent savings on CNG transit cargo vans, a $1,200 savings;
· A roughly 8 percent reduction on 3/4-ton CNG vans, a $2,700 savings; and
· A roughly 11 percent reduction on 1-ton CNG vans, a $3,700 savings.
Now, Fallin said, states will be able to buy at least one model truck with improvements in functionality. A 3/4-ton pickup with a fuel tank underneath the vehicle, as opposed to in the rear, will now be available for state purchase. Moving the tank from the back of the truck to underneath will add significant storage space and functionality to the vehicle.
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