We believe here at Autogas Fleet that there should be an “all of the above” approach to increasing our country’s energy security and promoting clean, economical alternatives like autogas. Unfortunately, the North Carolina Senate Energy Legislative Research Commission unveiled a plan recently that would require all public school buses to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), and would also mandate the use of CNG for half of the state Department of Transportation’s fleet.
In an op-ed published today in the Raleigh News & Observer, Alliance AutoGas President Stuart Weidie took aim at the proposal. The mandate would effectively let politicians decide which fuel has a distinct advantage in the marketplace, according to Weidie. “Our legislators should not be picking favorites; they should be ensuring that those in charge of our school bus and DOT fleets can choose the most economical and clean fuel available,” he says.
Besides, there are a number of fleets in the state that already made the switch to propane autogas, including the “Raleigh Police Department, the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, Davidson County Transportation Department, Gaston County Access, Iredell County Area Transportation System, the Iredell County Sheriff’s Office, Mountain Mobility of Asheville, the Town of Knightdale and the Biltmore Estate.” It’s noteworthy that these organizations chose to use propane vehicles without a legislative or executive mandate.
To add insult to injury, the N.C. state senate declined to hear from the propane industry. Perhaps this whole debate can be summed up by Weidie’s concluding words: “When it comes to clean, American-made alternative fuels, North Carolina’s fleets should be free to make their own natural selection.”
North Carolina residents can look up their state representatives and urge them to include propane autogas through this website.