Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, Oklahoma Secretary of Energy Michael Ming, and Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce Dave Lopez will visit Detroit on Monday to pitch a multi-state, bi-partisan compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle initiative to U.S. auto manufacturers.
In April, Gov. Fallin and the governors of 12 other states sent letters to auto makers in the United States expressing their commitment to explore ways to purchase more CNG vehicles for their state fleets. The move is both a cost-saving measure for states and a means to incentivize the manufacture of affordable and functional CNG vehicles. The letter referred to a multi-state Request for Information (RFI), asking manufacturers to provide background and information in anticipation of a multi-state solicitation later this summer. Participating states include: Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Utah, Maine, New Mexico, West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas, Ohio, Mississippi and Louisiana.
The initiative, first announced by Governor Fallin and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, attempts to establish the demand and incentive for auto manufacturers in the United States to design and sell a suitable CNG-powered passenger vehicle that can be used both by public fleets and private sector consumers. Gov. Hickenlooper will join the Oklahoma officials on the trip to Detroit.
"By meeting in person with automakers in Detroit, we can discuss in-depth the level of interest from the 13 states that have signed on to this initiative and jump start the process," Fallin said. "The development of CNG vehicles continues to be hampered by a "chicken and egg' scenario. Consumers won't buy CNG vehicles while there is limited fueling infrastructure and high vehicle price points, and manufacturers won't wade into the market if there is not sufficient consumer demand. Purchasing vehicles for state automobile fleets will help encourage the development of fueling infrastructure and break through the barriers holding back the development of CNG vehicles. The end result will be an initiative that will pave the path toward the development of a product that has the ability to save money on transportation costs for both state government and families."
Additionally, Fallin said the development of CNG vehicles and natural gas for transportation fuel has wider economic implications for Oklahoma and the nation.
"The United States has ample supplies of natural gas resources that are currently supporting millions of jobs throughout the country," Fallin said. "By promoting CNG use, states like Oklahoma are supporting the production of American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on foreign sources of oil. States are leading the way to American energy independence as Washington struggles to find a coherent energy policy."