Ten States Join Effort to Buy Natural Gas Vehicles
By Daniel C. Vock, Staff Writer
Three months after first unveiling the proposal, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announced this week that 10 states have signed on to her plan to replace aging government vehicles with ones that run on compressed natural gas.
Together, the group of states plans to buy 5,000 natural gas vehicles. "We believe that commitment," Fallin said during her state of the state speech, "will provide the incentive for American car manufacturers to begin producing an affordable natural gas sedan."
The effort started with an agreement between Fallin, a Republican, and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat. In 2010, both Oklahoma and Colorado ranked among the top six natural-gas producing states in the country.
Fallin's administration first broached the idea of a multistate agreement to purchase natural gas vehicles last year in an energy plan that also called natural gas "Oklahoma's flagship fuel." Denise Stepto, a spokeswoman for the Governor's Energy Office in Colorado, says the plan would help that state diversify its fuel sources for transportation, a major goal of the Hickenlooper administration.
Most of the other participating states also are among the leaders in natural gas production. The other states that have joined the agreement are Kentucky, Maine, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
"These are states that are working together collaboratively on an issue that really is important to the entire United States," Stepto says. "It's unusual."