Natural Gas Vehicle Proponents and Customers Say 'Now Is the Time for NGVs!'
With growing concern over foreign oil dependence, energy security and the need to improve air quality, fleet executives, policy makers and clean vehicle advocates met in San Antonio, Texas the week of September 20 at the National NGV Conference & Exhibition. The annual conference focused on how to expand the use of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) as they are an immediate, proven solution to these important challenges. "We have to look at natural gas together with other available energy sources, including oil, as part of a continuum that requires kind of a balancing for the long term and the common good," said speaker Andrew Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy. "Our twin goals should be achieving energy security through less dependence on foreign oil and protecting the environment."Conference attendees and speakers addressed current and future alternative fuel options, and what kind of role NGVs can — and should — play in developing up-and-coming technologies. Since NGV infrastructure is already proven and in place, for example, it can be leveraged when building future technology such as hydrogen fuel. Natural gas provides the "pathway to hydrogen" because many of the necessary hydrogen components will come from natural gas developments including already built fuel stations and the personnel who maintain those stations. The conference highlighted many success stories of municipal, corporate and airport fleets that are taking advantage of the cost savings from NGVs — all while helping the environment through lower vehicle emissions. Conference presenters included H-E-B Grocery Company, UPS, the U.S. Postal Service, the City of Dallas, the New York State Department of Transportation, Oakland International Airport and Albany International Airport. Awards sponsored by the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation and the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition were presented to individuals, companies and organizations that made outstanding contributions toward promoting natural gas as a vehicular fuel.This year's award recipients were: Stephen Park (City of Dallas), Milton Copulos (National Defense Council Foundation), Sharon Subadan (Montgomery County, MD Fleet), Long Beach City (NY) School District, Michael Andre (Lower Marion School District - PA), Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Claudia Sherrill (Elk Grove Unified School District - CA), Renee Dowlin (Oakland International Airport), James Graham Jr. (U.S. Postal Service Southwest Area), and the Massachusetts Highway Department. In addition, a Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Gordon Larsen (Questar) for his pioneering work in the natural gas industry.