AUSTIN –– Railroad Commissioners today announced that the Commission has about $700,000 available in grants to help public fleets, such as those operated by school districts, cities and counties, purchase new, ultra-low-emission natural gas vehicles.
The grant funding, which the Commission originally received to use for propane-fueled vehicles, has now been expanded to natural gas vehicles and can be used to offset some or all of the incremental costs of a natural gas fuel system on a new or retrofitted vehicle. Matching funds for the purchase of the vehicles must come from non-federal sources. Public fleets statewide are eligible to apply for these grants, regardless of the fleet location’s air-quality classification.
Chairman Barry Smitherman said, “Natural gas costs about $1.50 per gallon equivalent. That means a pretty quick payback for your initial investment. I suggest that fleet operators use the cost calculator on the Commission’s website to see if natural gas pencils out for them. The more clean-burning domestic natural gas we use, the less oil we have to import from tyrants like Hugo Chavez.”
Commissioner David Porter said, “I think it is excellent that we are expanding our propane grant program to natural gas. When you look at the price of natural gas, anything we can do to encourage consumption is going to have a positive effect not only on the industry but also the entire economy of the state. It’s a small step by the agency that we can build on to encourage not only the use of propane, but also natural gas as a transportation fuel, and I want to see the agency continue to move in that direction.”
Commissioner Buddy Garcia said, “You’d be surprised at how quickly a fleet needs to be turned over, and without these types of programs often fleet managers would just turn to conventional vehicles. This type of grant program really does encourage our Texas public fleets to consider the natural gas or propane component.”
The Vehicle Cost Calculator for the fleet services can be found at: http://altenergy.rrc.texas.gov/Vehicles
And more information on these grants can be found at www.rrc.texas.gov/arra/outreach.php.
Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including more than 90 years regulating the oil and gas industry. Additionally, the Commission promotes research and education on the use of alternative fuels and has jurisdiction over gas utility, surface mining and pipeline industries. Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov/.