Plan for natural gas vehicles advances through committee

State lawmakers gave their initial approval Thursday to a plan to encourage the state vehicle fleet to literally tap into Colorado’s massive natural gas reserves.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted 6-1 to approve legislation from Sen. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, that encourages the state to buy natural-gas-fueled vehicles for its fleet.

Kopp said his bill makes sense for the state with its abundant natural gas reserves on the Western Slope and throughout Colorado.

“It’s clean,” Kopp said. “It’s abundant here in Colorado.”

Senate Bill 92 would require the state to buy vehicles that run on compressed natural gas if they are cost-effective compared to other types of vehicles starting in 2010.

The Department of Personnel and Administration owns two vehicles, Honda Civics, that run on compressed natural gas.

Neither Mesa County nor the city of Grand Junction owns any natural gas vehicles.

“I like this concept a lot,” Sen. Chris Romer, D-Denver, said during the hearing.

He said the fact that natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline would be a boon for Denver and its long-term goals to lower ozone levels.

Sen. Suzanne Williams, D-Aurora, who voted against the bill, said she would like to see the state study the idea of converting its fleet to natural-gas-fueled cars before it takes such a policy leap.

Kopp’s bill could go before the state Senate as early as today.


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