“I think we are going to be able to (order) 5 or 10,000 vehicles year.” Gov. Hickenlooper, Colorado (The Detroit News)
In the U.S., 22 states selected dealers from four of the nation’s largest auto manufacturers including Chrysler, Ford, General Motors (GM) and Honda to deliver compressed natural gas (CNG) cargo, utility and passenger vehicles for use in their state fleets.
For the past year, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper have led a national, bi-partisan initiative to develop more functional and affordable CNG vehicles, which has included securing the support of 13 other governors, meetings with automobile manufacturers in Detroit and releasing a Request for Proposal soliciting bids for more CNG vehicles for use in state fleets.
Yesterday (Oct. 4), Fallin and Hickenlooper announced the preliminary results of the initiative sharing some of the success stories with the attendees of the 2012 Governor’s Energy Conference in Oklahoma City. In an interview before the announcement, Gov. Hickenlooper reportedly told The Detroit News: “I think we are going to be able to (order) 5 or 10,000 vehicles year.”
“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.”
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 three-quarter ton CNG pickup truck would still cost about $20,000 less to operate over its life-cycle compared to its gasoline counterpart.
Hickenlooper and Fallin said that the award will help move CNG into the marketplace, both in and outside of government, providing fuel independence and diversity for the nation and boosting the economy while helping the environment.
Over 100 bids were submitted by dealerships in 28 states.
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.
Bid details have been released.
Both governors hope to eventually add awards for four door sedans and half-ton pickup trucks, the two most popular models in the private sector.
(This article primarily compiled using information from Governors Fallin and Hickenlooper press releases)