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Colorado Seeking Federal Money for NGVs

July 13, 2009
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The state of Colorado is seeking $10 million in federal money to expand the use of natural gas vehicles (NGV) in industries such as waste disposal and public transit, Gov. Bill Ritter said. The state's project would be linked with efforts in other states to promote natural gas as a vehicle fuel.

Colorado and its partners -- Clean Energy, a supplier of compressed natural gas (CNG) for transportation; and the Southern and Northern Colorado Clean Cities Coalitions -- have applied for the grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The money would help fund a $27.6 million project to deploy 68 heavy-duty natural gas-powered waste disposal trucks and transit buses and construct five CNG fueling stations across Colorado. The remaining cost would be picked up by project partners.

Running a vehicle on natural gas cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 30% and nearly eliminates emissions such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds, according to the governor's office. Colorado currently has 18 natural gas fueling stations.

"Converting vehicles to clean-burning natural gas is one of the quickest ways to clean up Colorado's Rocky Mountain air," said Colorado Oil & Gas Association President Meg Collins. "Unlike other very promising, but still emerging, alternative fuel options, natural gas is a proven fuel that we produce right here in Colorado."

The project that would be partially funded by the grant could save an estimated 666,500 gallons of petroleum per year and up to 2.66 million gallons over the four-year life of the contract, the governor's energy office said. The project could also eliminate more than 145,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

More local and state governments and businesses are adding NGVs to their fleets, thanks to financial incentives adopted by municipal planning or air quality agencies, according to a study conducted by Emisstar LLC and commissioned by NGV America, which promotes vehicles powered by natural gas or hydrogen (see related story).

The Colorado project is also designed to extend regional CNG markets by linking two of the five fueling stations planned for Colorado to those in other states: Wyoming along the Interstate 25 corridor and in Utah along the Interstate 70 corridor (see NGI, March 30). Oklahoma, which like Colorado is a gas-producing state, recently enacted legislation to promote natural gas vehicles. In California Clean Energy has been involved in the rollout of natural gas-powered vehicles.

Last week bipartisan legislation was offered in the Senate that seeks to extend and expand federal tax credits for NGVs and refueling infrastructure (see related story).

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