The governors of Oklahoma and Colorado (which a Forbes article notes are two states with a “vested interest in the natural gas industry”) are calling on our nation’s major auto manufacturers in Detroit to produce more vehicles that run on natural gas, over other American-made alternative fuels like propane autogas.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin met Monday with executives at Chrysler, General Motors and Ford. They’re leading are leading a group of 13 states who have committed to purchase thousands of NGVs for their fleets, both to save money on fuel and to spur the industry to produce more of these vehicles.
This is a step in the right direction for our nation’s energy security that would hopefully help to resolve the alternative fuel “Catch 22” we often run up against: to get more alternative fuel vehicles on the road, we need more alternative fueling stations; but to develop our nation’s alternative fuel station infrastructure, we need to get more Americans driving AFVs. At the same time, if clean vehicles are too expensive, drivers won’t buy them—and if drivers aren’t buying, Detroit certainly isn’t going to mass produce them.
But there is another domestically produced clean fuel that’s ready to use, now, and is much more affordable for fleets. Propane autogas delivers the same benefits as natural gas, but without the enormous costs of implementation – specifically, the vehicles and fueling stations are far less expensive. This is why autogas already powers more vehicles in the U.S than natural gas does, and more than 18 million worldwide. And with the Alliance AutoGas complete program for fleets, it’s possible to make the switch to autogas at no upfront cost.
Propane autogas is the only alternative fuel that can stand on its own without government backing, while it’s clear that natural gas is only currently viable with government support. While it’s true that auto manufacturers mass-producing alt fuel vehicles would be a positive step toward widespread AFV adoption in the U.S., fleets and drivers should have a choice in which clean fuel powers those vehicles. When lawmakers leave a viable alternative fuel like autogas out of the conversation, they’re doing a disservice to fleets who could benefit from this affordable clean fuel.
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