At a ceremony opening his annual Conference on Energy, Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell signed an agreement with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. to enable the Commonwealth and local Virginia governmental entities to purchase Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) from Clean Energy for their vehicle fleets. Commonwealth, county, city, municipal and other Virginia government bodies will be able to access special pricing for CNG fuel and services through the state's procurement website, eVA. Clean Energy also plans to build CNG fueling stations and provide CNG vehicle conversions for Commonwealth and local Virginia governments that want to take advantage of the benefits of natural gas as a transportation fuel.
"Not only is this good for the government and the environment, but ultimately it will be good for consumers and the economy as well," said Governor McDonnell. "The infrastructure created through this effort will be available to fuel passenger vehicles and other commercial fleets. Through this innovative public-private partnership we enter today, the Commonwealth, industry leaders and innovators can work collaboratively to move state government and private industry away from vehicles fueled by gasoline and diesel fuel and reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
"Through his leadership, Governor McDonnell has put Virginia on a path to a more secure energy future," said Mark Riley, Vice President, Eastern Region for Clean Energy at the signing ceremony in Richmond. "Clean Energy is honored to partner with the Commonwealth on this ground-breaking program that will give the Commonwealth, local governments and consumers easier and greater access to natural gas as their fuel choice."
Clean Energy recently opened its first CNG public-access station in Virginia on Maury Street in downtown Richmond and expects to open its second station adjacent to Dulles International Airport. Both public-access stations are open 24/7 and are co-located with Clean Energy's partner Quarles Fuel Network. Working with Commonwealth officials, Clean Energy expects to develop a strategic network of CNG station locations throughout Virginia, taking advantage of the extensive inter-state highways traversing the Commonwealth.
Currently priced up to $1.50 a gallon lower than gasoline or diesel depending on local markets, the use of natural gas fuel reduces operating costs for vehicles and reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 30 percent in light-duty vehicles and 23 percent in medium to heavy-duty vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 98 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is sourced in the U.S. and Canada, making natural gas a secure North American energy choice.