Oklahoma regulators on Monday approved rebates of up to $2,500 for natural gas vehicles (NGV) and home fueling equipment providing compressed natural gas (CNG). Rebates will be offered by ONEOK's Oklahoma Natural Gas Co. (ONG) utility, and all residents of the state are eligible for the program.

Dedicated NGVs are eligible for $2,500 rebates, vehicles converted to run on CNG and dual fuel vehicles can get rebates of $1,500, and residential CNG fueling systems can garner $2,500 under a program approved unanimously by the three-member Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC).

The regulators indicated they want the program to give citizens in the state more choices for their motor vehicle fuels while also helping boost the state's economy.

Regulators stressed that the program is not being funded by gas utility retail customers, but rather by current and future operators of CNG-powered vehicles. The OCC approved a 25-cent/gallon-equivalent surcharge at the 25 Oklahoma gas utility-owned CNG fueling stations open to the general public. "Because ONG cannot sell CNG at a profit, with the surcharge the cost of CNG at ONG's utility pumps will still be lower than at commercial CNG stations," an OCC spokesperson said.

OCC Chair Dana Murphy said the program encourages the use of one of Oklahoma's abundant natural resources, while "promoting Oklahoma's role in helping our country achieve energy independence and helping our rural communities by providing access to CNG fueling in remote as well as urban areas."

Both Murphy and Commissioner Bob Anthony said the program should provide more incentives to expand the state's CNG infrastructure. Anthony said his personal vehicle is powered by CNG, which he called "safe and reliable."

Commissioner Patrice Douglas noted that the CNG rebates help support Gov. Mary Fallin's "Oklahoma First" energy program. "A key part of the program is increasing the use of natural gas as a motor fuel," Douglas said.

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