This week, governors from 13 different U.S. states met in Detroit with domestic vehicle manufacturers, in an effort to develop a compressed natural gas vehicle initiative.
Led by Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, governors also came from Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming and Utah. Their attendance was to support a program aimed to foster a commitment to establish demand and provide incentives for the sale of CNG passenger vehicles as well as developing an adequate infrastructure to support them.
The meeting follows on from letters sent to automakers by Fallin, Hickenlooper and officials in 11 other states back in April that expressed intent to purchase more CNG vehicles for official state fleet purposes.
Besides promoting clean energy use, the initiative is also designed to bolster energy security – especially considering the U.S. has large, domestic reserves of natural gas – while providing a practical, affordable solution to gasoline fueled transportation.
Costs associated with electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, it was said, are currently beyond the realm of affordability for most Americans, with little signs of improving, at least in the short term.
Gov. Fallin has expressed her concern that progress on CNG vehicles and infrastructure has been hampered by the lack of initiative, both in using methods to stimulate consumer demand and vehicle manufacturers who are treading very cautiously. She believes that by purchasing CNG vehicles for official use, states will set an example and “help encourage the development of fueling infrastructure and break through the barriers holding back the development of CNG vehicles.
The end result is to 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.”
Similarly. Gov. Hickenlooper said the state governments pooling together their goals would help build momentum.
“We believe there will is strong interest in natural gas vehicles and we want to leverage the collective purchasing power of state fleets to jump start that market,” he said. “These meetings will help establish a mutually beneficial partnership between the 13 states on the agreement and the auto companies.”