Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said he expects 22 states to agree to buy up to 10,000 vehicles running on compressed natural gas a year, provided that U.S. automakers build them.
“I think we are going to be able to order 5 or 10,000 vehicles year – is how many we’re talking about ordering. That should be enough to get them to move an assembly line,” Hickenlooper was quoted as saying by The Detroit News in an interview. He added that 22 states have agreed to make a joint bid to buy CNG vehicles in order to stimulate production.
By building CNG cars at the assembly plant instead of converting existing vehicles the costs can be cut, says Hickenlooper. “If you do it off the assembly line, it’s hardly any additional cost,” Hickenlooper added. In July, Hickenlooper, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and other officials met U.S. auto manufacturers in Detroit to make them build CNG vehicles by ensuring that state governments will sustain the effort.
In April, 13 governors, including Fallin and Hickenlooper, wrote to U.S. automakers expressing their commitment to explore ways to purchase more CNG vehicles for their state fleets. The states taking part in the initiative include Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania, Utah, Maine, New Mexico, West Virginia, Kentucky, Texas, Ohio, Mississippi and Louisiana.