Bipartisan efforts for cheap gas
Partisan gridlock may be a permanent feature of our nation’s capital, but it is a particularly alarming one when it prevents the creation of a sensible national energy policy that would ensure the long-term ability of Americans to power their businesses, heat their homes and access affordable transportation. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening, and it has left us with an endless cycle of rising energy prices and an addiction to foreign oil produced by foreign dictatorships.
Washington may be unable to get its act together, but state leaders are unwilling to allow our energy policy to be defined by inaction. Collaboration was a tradition of the Old West, where there were far more barn-raisings than shootouts. As the chief executives of Oklahoma and Colorado, we have had the privilege of continuing that tradition of cooperation and have joined with 12 other governors in signing an agreement to deploy compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in state fleets. Uninhibited by partisanship, we have reached across state and party lines to work collaboratively on an initiative that is aimed toward job creation, energy security, environmental sustainability and affordable energy.
As the governors of these 14 diverse states are united in the goal of increasing the use of CNG vehicles, we are seeking to deploy more cost-efficient cars and trucks in our state fleets while simultaneously boosting demand for natural gas and encouraging the development of more CNG infrastructure. CNG vehicles will become widely accepted only if multiple pieces fall into place simultaneously: deployment of vehicles that run on this fuel, an increase in CNG filling stations, and increased availability of the fuel itself. To meet these ends, we contacted auto manufacturers in the U.S., gas-station owners and natural gas producers.
Last month, we traveled to Detroit to meet with Chrysler, General Motors and Ford to encourage manufacturers to participate in our cross-state effort to deploy more CNG vehicles. This meeting follows up on a letter the states sent this spring to vehicle manufacturers, the first formal step in implementing the multistate agreement. That agreement seeks to leverage our collective state-fleet purchasing power to encourage automakers to develop a functional and affordable CNG passenger vehicle that also will meet public demand.