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Oklahoma State Senate

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For Immediate Release: March 5, 2008

Sen. Andrew Rice
Sen. Andrew Rice

State Vehicle Fleet Conversion to Alternative Fuels Gets Bipartisan Support in Senate

A bipartisan majority of State Senators voted today for Sen. Andrew Rice’s plan to convert Oklahoma’s government vehicle fleet to alternative fuels.

For Rice, D-OKC, it is his second amendment adopted by the Senate in two days that will reduce energy costs and consumption by public institutions in Oklahoma. His amendment to a public schools auditing bill yesterday will encourage public school districts in the state to reduce their electric energy consumption by five percent per year for six years beginning in 2009.

“When private citizens across Oklahoma are being forced to find ways to save energy costs in order to make ends meet, it makes sense for their state government to do the same thing,” Rice said. “These are modest proposals that save taxpayer dollars and help the environment at the same time.”

Today, Rice successfully amended a bill (S.B. 1604) by State Sen. David Myers, R-Ponca City, after the two Senators agreed on language in the bill during debate on the floor. Rice agreed to expand his amendment’s requirement for conversion of state vehicle fleets to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to also include other alternative fuels.

Myers’ bill instructs the State Secretary of Energy to create an energy policy for the state.

“Any energy policy would recognize that it’s important for the state to save energy costs while using energy produced right here at home so it’s appropriate to attach this amendment to Senator Myers’ bill,” Rice said.

The Rice amendment is similar to legislation he introduced earlier this year that requires all state-owned fueling stations to provide CNG or other alternative fuels by July 1, 2009, provided the cost of the fuel is not higher than 10 percent above the cost of conventional gasoline or diesel. The 35 state agencies with 10 or more vehicles will be required to increase the fuel efficiency of their fleets by 50 percent by June 30, 2012.

The fuel efficiency requirement can be attained by purchasing vehicles that utilize CNG or other alternative fuels or by converting engines of existing vehicles.

Rice said that other vehicle fleets across the country which have converted to CNG have reported fuel cost savings ranging from 25% to 50%. They have also reported reducing hydrocarbon emissions by 50 percent and carbon monoxide emissions by 90 percent.

“Natural gas is one of Oklahoma’s most abundant natural resource,” Rice said. “We also can become a leading supplier of biodiesel and ethanol because of our ability to produce agricultural products that serve as sources for those fuels. This is a win-win for everybody.”

For more information contact:
Senator Rice's Office:  (405) 521-5610

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