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MADISON – A group of Wisconsin businesses and associations announced Sept. 2 the formation of a new coalition, Wisconsin Wins With Natural Gas Vehicles, to support expanding the opportunities for the people and businesses of Wisconsin to use more natural gas to fuel their vehicles.
This will lead to greater economic growth in the state and major savings on fuel costs, according to the founding members. It will also help the state achieve its goal of implementing cost-effective, reliable, balanced and environmentally responsible clean energy projects.
Wisconsin Wins with Natural Gas Vehicles includes nine founding members: Alliant Energy, Kwik Trip Inc, Madison Gas and Electric, Trillium CNG, U.S. Venture, Inc., the Wisconsin Beer Distributors Association, the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association, Wisconsin Public Service and Xcel Energy.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States is the world’s leader in producing natural gas.
“Our company is based in Wisconsin, so we are very interested in having our state become a leader in using natural gas as a transportation fuel,” says John Schmidt, CEO and president of U.S. Venture Inc. in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Natural gas used in vehicles costs anywhere from 30 to 50 percent less than gasoline and diesel, but there are challenges in growing the market for natural gas vehicles. These vehicles cost more than traditional vehicles, with much of that cost attributed to stronger pressurized tanks. And there are fewer stations selling natural gas compared to gasoline and diesel.
“We’ve seen the impact that state incentives can have on helping fleets make the switch, and we are excited to expand the fueling infrastructure,” says Schmidt.
Wisconsin had almost 5,000 natural gas vehicles registered in the state in 2013, and 42 public refueling locations, compared to 743 public stations nationwide.
“We look forward to working with the state to help build the fueling infrastructure for heavy-duty fleets that realize the economic and environmental benefits of CNG,” says Mary Boettcher, president of Trillium CNG.
Natural gas vehicles are available in a wide variety of makes and models, including a passenger car, but the growth has come in fleets with vehicles that use a great deal of fuel, and several major companies in Wisconsin are interested in building up their natural gas fleets.
“Our members are excited about the potential for using natural gas in their vehicles, says Tom Howells, president of the Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association in Madison. “The cost savings as well as the reduced emissions provides a win-win opportunity.”
Membership in Wisconsin Wins With Natural Gas Vehicles is open to businesses and organizations that share the coalition’s mission of helping the state achieve its alternative fuel goals by recommending programs that will help grow the emerging market for natural gas vehicles.
• Every new NGV fueling station creates 45 new jobs within a 5-mile radius, according to a 2013 Economic Impact Study done by Fishkind and Associates for the Florida Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition.
• According to the Wisconsin State Energy Office, 4,915 natural gas vehicles were registered in 2013, up from only 123 in 2010. The state attributes the growth to the low cost of natural gas compared to gasoline and diesel fuel.
• The U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price Report for the first quarter of 2014 showed that natural gas in the Midwest $2.08 a gallon, while diesel fuel cost an average of $3.91 a gallon and gasoline cost an average of $3.60.
• About 20 states provide incentives for alternative fuel vehicles and stations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center. These incentives include tax credits, grants and rebates.