I was pleased to see recent bipartisan support for natural gas vehicles by our gubernatorial candidates. Both Bill Maloney and Gov. Tomblin have come out in favor of converting government fleets to run on natural gas and expanding the use of NGVs throughout the state. When considering the environmental and economic benefits, using more natural gas to power our vehicles is a truly bipartisan solution to our transportation demands.
Fleets powered by natural gas offer considerable savings with a significantly higher octane rating, better fuel efficiency and lower operating costs than other forms of transportation fuel. And the savings at the pump are clear: a vehicle running on compressed natural gas currently averages $2.13, while a gallon of diesel is $3.85. At a time when states must prioritize every dollar, the savings from converting fleets to run on natural gas - much of which is found right here in West Virginia - speak for themselves.
In addition to reduced fuel and maintenance costs, natural gas vehicles are also better for our environment. NGVs emit less carbon dioxide than traditional diesel vehicles and reduce smog-producing nitrogen oxide pollutants. These reduced emissions mean that NGVs can result in cleaner air across West Virginia. With natural gas, we do not have to choose between affordably powering our transportation fleets and protecting our environment.
West Virginia ranks No. 11 in production in states that produce natural gas. With an abundance of affordable natural gas available here in West Virginia, the smart choice would be to continue developing this resource for our state transportation fleets. With all the benefits that natural gas offers to our communities, the safe and responsible development of natural gas is putting West Virginia on the road to a clean energy future.