The governors of Colorado, Oklahoma, Wyoming and Pennsylvania have signed a pact designed to increase the use of natural gas vehicles (NGV) in the fleets of each state.

The memorandum of understanding calls for the states to aggregate fleet vehicle procurements with the intent of creating a demand base sufficient to support the design, manufacture and sale of NGVs by U.S. manufacturers.

“Aggregating state and local vehicle purchases is a common-sense way to close the price gap between traditional and alternative fuel vehicles,” said Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. “Developing markets for vehicles that run on natural gas — an abundant domestic fuel — can help reduce dependence on foreign oil, enhance air quality and showcase how states are leading by example to help tackle the complex energy challenges that our country faces.”

In anticipation of soliciting a joint request for proposals (RFP), the memorandum says, the states involved will coordinate with local agencies, municipalities and companies to determine the number of NGVs each state can commit to purchase and the required specifications necessary to meet fleet needs.

“States have tens of thousands of fleet automobiles, and by asking car manufacturers to partner with us to bring an affordable NGV to market, we’re helping to develop the products and infrastructure for cleaner, more cost-effective transportation,” said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin. “This initiative has the potential to be a true game-changer for both the automobile industry and the energy industry.”

The joint RFP requires that the ultimate cost of adding NGVs to the fleet should be comparably priced to an equivalent gasoline-powered model and that warranty and reliability concerns are not compromised. States involved will encourage private investment to meet growing demand for NGVs and pursue continued development and expansion of a natural gas fueling infrastructure, it said.

Future vehicle acquisitions should, when economically feasible, rely on traditional distribution channels that incorporate local businesses in procurement processes, according to the agreement. No date has been determined for when the joint RFP will be executed.

Governors of other states have been invited to join the effort, and the partnership is expected to grow, the governors said.

“Natural gas has created tens of thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania and can create hundreds of thousands more in this country once we’ve developed the right infrastructure,” said Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.

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