Two of the natural gas industry's major organizations said Monday they have merged their efforts to promote natural gas vehicles (NGV) into the Washington, DC-based NGVAmerica organization, moving a more recent collaboration known as the "Drive Natural Gas Initiative" into the longer-established advocacy organization headed by industry veteran Richard Kolodziej.

The American Gas Association (AGA) and America's Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) had established a the producer-inspired NGV initiative to help promote greater use of natural gas in transportation as U.S. gas supplies have taken off since the shale boom set in over the past three to five years.

AGA and ANGA initially launched their initiative in 2010 as a two-year collaboration, and they credit it with playing "an integral role" in securing a level playing field for NGVs in 2012’s federal fuel efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles. Based on that success, the participating companies elected to extend the collaboration for a third year in 2013.

AGA and ANGA executives said the time is right for an all-out NGV push domestically. AGA's CEO Dave McCurdy called NGVs "a trifecta of solutions for our economy, environment and energy security." He will serve with ANGA CEO Marty Durbin on the Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) executive committee.

"The momentum for NGVs has never been greater, and local natural gas utilities will play a key role in enabling NGV adoption," McCurdy said. Durbin echoed his colleagues comments, stressing that NGVs have a chance to be a big part of the fleets operating over-the-highway vehicles.

Touting cost-savings and environmental advantages, along with what is now a plentiful domestic fuel supply, NGVs are going to be "an essential part" of the U.S. transportation system, according to NGVAmerica's CEO Kolodziej.

"This partnership will only help grow that role and bring the benefits of natural gas to more Americans."