(Oklahoma City, Okla.) - Governor Mary Fallin and Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley today announced the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) has added 160 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles to the department's statewide fleet. The vehicles will primarily be used by field division offices across the state. The department has four Honda Civics, which are ready for use by the agency, and 156 three-quarter ton Dodge Ram pickups, which the agency expects to receive in January and put into use immediately.
"Converting our state fleets to CNG will not only save millions in taxpayer dollars in fuel costs, but it promotes the use of a cleaner burning fuel made in the United States and the creation of American jobs," Fallin said. "I appreciate the leadership of Secretary Ridley in pursuing the use of more CNG vehicles at ODOT. As we see more state agencies replace traditional fuel vehicles with CNG vehicles, the costs savings for taxpayers will be significant."
Governor Fallin is leading a bipartisan coalition of 22 states seeking to use more CNG vehicles in their state fleets. The governor announced the start of the project at the inaugural Governor's Energy Conference in 2011. Since then, Governor Fallin has petitioned other states and governors, met with automobile manufacturers in Detroit, and issued and received bids for a Request for Proposal for more affordable CNG vehicles for use in state fleets.
"We are very pleased with Governor Fallin's leadership in working with the auto industry on a national level to make CNG vehicles available for state fleets," Ridley said. "This initiative will result in long-term cost savings for the taxpayers and is a real game-changer for the energy industry in Oklahoma and the nation."
Ridley said ODOT's fleet had been rapidly aging due to years of agency-imposed cutbacks on vehicle purchases. The new CNG vehicles, which cost $5 million, will allow the agency to modernize its fleet. Each CNG vehicle is estimated to save approximately $20,000 over the life of the vehicle in fuel and maintenance cost savings compared to a traditional fuel vehicle.
Ridley said the plans are to replace more than 90 percent of the fleet vehicles at ODOT and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority with CNG vehicles in the next three years.