Hickenlooper promoting natural gas cars

By: Rob Hughes Email
By: Rob Hughes Email
Governor John Hickenlooper is pressing car makers in Detroit to put more natural gas vehicles on the road.

2008 Honda Civic GX - Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Vehicle can be used with the Phill home refueling appliance from FuelMaker.

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) KKCO spoke with the Governor Wednesday as he traveled through Aspen. Governor Hickenlooper is hoping to see a lot more natural gas stations throughout Colorado.
He was in Detroit earlier this week, encouraging GM, Ford, and Chrysler to make more natural gas cars. It's a movement that's already catching on in the Grand Valley.

"How do we convince you guys that this is real," says Hickenlooper, referring to his efforts to convince Detroit automaker executives that natural gas cars are the future of the automobile industry. "It's at least a buck and a half per gallon equivalent cheaper, it burns cleaner, so it keeps our air cleaner; and it keeps us from sending billions of dollars to foreign dictatorships." Governor Hickenlooper has partnered with Republican Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin, and is trying to get other states on board. "Most importantly, it creates jobs not just in Oklahoma and Colorado, but in 24 other states in the United States," says Hickenlooper.

Fuoco Motors in Grand Junction is already selling natural gas cars that get 38 miles per gallon on the highway, 32 in the city.
"I think we're just touching the tip of the iceberg right now, as far as natural gas, once there are more filling stations and more companies get behind making them. Honda has always been a front-runner when it comes to hybrids," says Lynn Robison, general sales manager at Fuoco Motors in Grand Junction.

Right now there's one natural gas station in Grand Junction. The city of Grand Junction has been using natural gas powered vehicles for several months. "We're saving approximately $2.50 a gallon, and that's equivalent to approximately $17,000 a year in savings," says Darren Starr, Solid Waste & Streets Manager with the City of Grand Junction.

And that's something Governor Hickenlooper himself is applauding. "What we're hoping to do is have everyone follow your guy's lead," says Hickenlooper. The governor is hoping the trend will continue to catch on in the Centennial state. "This is a transition process by which we can accelerate pretty rapidly to a green economy."

We spoke with Encana oil and gas officials. They confirmed that some of the vehicles in their fleet are powered by natural gas. We also spoke with the Western Slope Oil and Gas Association. They want to commend Governor Hickenlooper for his efforts to bring natural gas vehicles to Colorado, and the Western Slope.

So what will one of these cars cost you? Natural gas compact cars are selling for around $28,000. If you buy one, you're eligible for a Colorado tax credit of over $5,000.

Automakers will offer natural gas trucks as well.

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