Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper today announced the preliminary results of a multistate solicitation designed to encourage auto manufacturers in the U.S. to develop more functional and affordable compressed natural gas vehicles.
Fallin and Hickenlooper are leading a bipartisan group of 22 states seeking to use CNG vehicles in their state fleets.
The two governors announced the start of the project one year ago, at last year's Governor's Energy Conference in Oklahoma City. Since then, Fallin and Hickenlooper have petitioned other states and governors, met with automobile manufacturers in Detroit, and issued a Request for Proposal soliciting bids for more affordable CNG vehicles for use in state fleets. After receiving the support of 20 other states, they announced the preliminary results of the initiative at today's conference.
"The initiative has been enormously successful," Fallin declared. "We asked auto manufacturers to develop products that were more affordable and functional. With the combined purchasing power of our 22 states, we successfully provided the incentive to do so. States will now have the incentive and ability to begin converting their fleets to CNG while saving millions of dollars in taxpayer money."
Over 100 bids were submitted by dealerships in 28 states throughout the nation representing Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and Honda.
While bid details will be released tomorrow (Friday, Oct. 5) at 9 a.m. at www.dcs.ok.gov, Fallin and Hickenlooper shared some of the success stories with the attendees of the Governor's Energy Conference.
In Oklahoma, awards given through the multi-state RFP will result in:
* An approximately 16 percent reduction in cost for ¾ ton CNG pick-ups, resulting in a savings of $5,800
* An approximately 8 percent reduction for CNG compact sedans, a $2,100 savings
* An approximately 4 percent savings on CNG transit cargo vans, a $1,200 savings
* An approximately 8 percent reduction on ¾ ton CNG vans, a $2,700 savings
* An approximately 11 percent reduction on 1 ton CNG vans, a $3,700 savings
Additionally, states will now have opportunity to purchase at least one model truck with improvements in functionality. A ¾ ton pick-up 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.
Because CNG vehicles run on cheaper fuel than gasoline powered vehicles, they are predicted to produce significant taxpayer savings. For instance, after recouping CNG system costs, a ¾ ton CNG pickup truck would still cost about $20,000 less to operate over its life-cycle compared to its gasoline counterpart.
Both governors hope to eventually add awards for four door sedans and ½ ton pickup trucks, the two most popular models in the private sector.
Hickenlooper said that today's award will help move CNG into the marketplace, both in and outside of government.
"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."
Fallin said the movement to CNG vehicles would help the environment and boost the economy.
"CNG vehicles represent a key component of the movement towards 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."