Gov. John Hickenlooper joined Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin this week to announce the 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 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in their state fleets. Hickenlooper said this week'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."
More than 100 bids were submitted by dealerships in 28 states representing Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and Honda. In Colorado, awards given through the multi-state Request for Proposal will allow the state to:
Save up to 19 percent below current CNG vehicle retail or conversion prices.
Offer at least four classes of CNG vehicle types to state and local fleets.
Extend the same vehicle savings to all local governments through the state's bid list.
Purchase CNG vehicles as required by law if the lifecycle cost is within 10 percent of that of a gasoline vehicle.
Awards in Colorado went to Spradley Barr Ford in Greeley and GO Honda 104th in Westminster. More information is available at http://tinyurl.com/9ylkvb8.
Hickenlooper and Fallin announced the start of the CNG project one year ago, at last year's Oklahoma Governor's Energy Conference in Oklahoma City. Fallin and Hickenlooper later 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 this year's conference this week in Oklahoma City.
"The initiative has been enormously successful," Fallin said. "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."
Additionally, states will now have the 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 truck bed, will now be available for purchase. Moving the tank from the back of the truck to underneath will add significant storage space and functionality to the vehicle.
Hickenlooper and Fallin hope awards are eventually added for four-door sedans and ½-ton pickup trucks, the two most popular models in the private sector.