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CNG could drive down cost to the taxpayers

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Earlier this month I enjoyed the opportunity to attend an event in recognition of the placement of the new Compressed Natural Gas pump at the Love’s Travel Stop located at I-35 and Hwy. 33 on the east side of Guthrie. Officials from Chesapeake Energy and Love’s hosted the event.

The new CNG pump is the second to be located within House District 31. And it is likely the first to cache CNG, so those driving CNG vehicles can quickly get CNG without having to activate and wait on a compressor to fill up.

The deployment of this type of infrastructure statewide represents a vital step in making the use of CNG commonplace. Motorists will take advantage of a lower price for each gallon of gas and the taxpayers of Oklahoma will potentially save significantly as well.

I have requested approval for a legislative study of the state’s centralized fleet management policies, and anticipate the study will take place in the Government Modernization Committee. I have received feedback from multiple state agencies regarding opportunities to lower fleet costs and look forward to exploring and potentially applying cost saving ideas.

The study will also provide the opportunity to consider the impact of Governor Mary Fallin’s proposal to convert part of the state fleet to CNG. The Governor and state central service officials have been working hard to find a way to drive down the acquisition costs of CNG vehicles. If they are successful and can substantially drive down the acquisition costs, there is a significant potential savings to the taxpayer due to the much lower price per gallon purchased.

The primary reason for converting the state’s fleet should be to achieve cost savings to taxpayers. It is also smart for the state to purchase products like CNG which come from Oklahoma and don’t have to be imported from other countries.

I believe the growth in the Oklahoma energy sector has been a major driver for the significant new residential development in north Edmond and south Logan County because numerous new homes have been purchased by those who have excellent paying jobs due to Oklahoma energy companies such as Chesapeake and Devon.

There are clearly multiple potential benefits from implementing the Governor’s plan. For this plan to work, a network of CNG pumps must be put into place. Providers such as Love’s are meeting this need.

The Guthrie Love’s Travel Stop represents an ideal location for CNG. Over the past 15 years, the I-35 Hwy. 33 area has expanded with numerous new commercial establishments and now serves hundreds (if not thousands) of I-35 motorists each day. This influx of spending from out of town travelers allows local officials to expand the tax base while hopefully reducing the tax burden on House District 31 residents.

This new ideally located CNG pump will provide CNG vehicle owners with yet another reason to stop in Logan County and enable local state officials to realize savings on behalf of taxpayers. It has the added benefit of supporting the Oklahoma energy sector which is so important to many of the new residents in north Oklahoma and south Logan Counties.

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