A unanimous vote by nearly 200 mayors Monday in favor of a resolution calling on the federal government to encourage greater use of natural gas vehicles (NGV) should signal other authorities to turn their support toward alternative fuels for transportation, according to American’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA).

“The mayors’ emphasis on natural gas should serve as a model for federal and state policymakers,” ANGA said. “By taking a page from these local leaders’ playbooks, we can take advantage of our nation’s vast natural gas resources to advance clean power generation and transportation.”

The resolution, sponsored by North Little Rock, AR, Mayor Patrick Henry Hays, was approved on Monday, the final day of the annual meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors in Oklahoma City.

Purchasing more NGVs and transitioning to gas-fired power plants is helping the United States clean its air, create jobs and advance its energy security, ANGA Vice Chairman and Williams CEO Steve Malcolm told mayors in a speech at the meeting’s opening plenary session.

“Our country is at a defining moment. The United States is the envy of the world for our natural gas abundance and affordability. It truly puts our country in the driver’s seat for our clean energy economy, for the health and environment of our communities and for our energy security,” Malcolm said.

The use of natural gas for transportation was a significant focus at the four-day meeting. NGVs were used to transport attendees and the event featured a Clean Urban Vehicle Exhibit, sponsored by ANGA and Chesapeake Energy Corp., which included natural gas-powered fleet vehicles.

Fleet use of natural gas-powered vehicles is gaining traction. Ford last week said it will introduce a compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) engine prep package for its F-450 and F-550 Super Duty pickup trucks later this year (see Daily GPI, June 9). That followed General Motors Co.’s announcement that it plans to offer CNG/LPG powered versions of its Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana cargo vans to fleet and commercial customers beginning this fall (see Daily GPI, May 19).

Earlier this year Clean Energy Fuels Corp. subsidiary BAF said it would convert 501 Ford E-250 Series vans to CNG power for telecommunications provider Verizon (see Daily GPI, April 23). Seal Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels also recently signed a five-year contract with SuperShuttle International to provide it with CNG for its vehicles at major airports throughout the United States (see Daily GPI, May 4).

Natural gas-fueled vehicles offer the strongest foreign oil-displacement message of all alternative fuels, and while there are only about 120,000 of them on U.S. roads now, they’re a growing force for energy independence and cleaner air, Richard Kolodziej, president of Natural Gas Vehicles for America told attendees at GasMart 2010 in Chicago last month (see Daily GPI, May 13).

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