Hickenlooper: State will get a good deal on natural-gas vehicles

Awards given through a multi-state request for proposal for compressed natural-gas vehicles will allow the state of Colorado to save up to 19 percent below retail as well as on the price of converting a gasoline-powered vehicle to natural gas, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s office said Friday.

The same vehicle savings could also be extended to all local governments. Additionally, the bids received by the state will offer at least four classes of compressed natural-gas vehicle types to state and local fleets.

Awards in Colorado went to Spradley Barr Ford in Greeley and GO Honda 104th in Westminster.

Hickenlooper and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin are leading a bipartisan group of 22 states seeking to use compressed natural-gas vehicles in their fleets. Hickenlooper said this week’s award will help move compressed natural gas into the marketplace, both in and outside of government.

As part of the request for proposals, more than 100 bids were submitted by dealerships in 28 states representing Ford, Chrysler, General Motors and Honda. The governors aim to encourage U.S. auto manufacturers to develop more functional and affordable compressed natural-gas (CNG) vehicles.

“This announcement represents a major success for CNG and even more importantly for our economy,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “We believe this is the start of a national movement to add much-needed fuel diversity to our nation’s transportation sector while at the same time creating jobs and helping to grow local economies.”

Hickenlooper and Fallin announced the start of the CNG project one year ago, at last year’s Oklahoma Governor’s Energy Conference in Oklahoma City. Fallin and Hickenlooper later petitioned other states and governors, met with automobile manufacturers in Detroit and issued a request for proposal soliciting bids for more affordable CNG vehicles for use in state fleets.

After receiving the support of 20 other states, the governors announced the preliminary results of the initiative at this year’s conference this week in Oklahoma City.

“The initiative has been enormously successful,” Fallin said in the statement.

“With the combined purchasing power of our 22 states, we successfully provided the incentive to do so,” she said. “States will now have the incentive and ability to begin converting their fleets to CNG while saving millions of dollars in taxpayer money.”

Colorado received bids for a compact sedan, two 3/4 ton trucks and a transit van.

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