CenterPoint Energy builds momentum in natural gas vehicles with fleet conversion initiative
HOUSTON--June 6, 2013: In 2013, CenterPointEnergy will add 35 natural gas vehicles to its fleet across Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Additionally, the company expects to provide natural gas service to at least 17 new compressed natural gas fueling stations built in the company's service territory.
"Vehicles powered by affordable, clean, safe and domestic natural gas can create American jobs, save businesses and consumers money, protect the environment, and bring us energy independence for the decades ahead," said Joe McGoldrick, division president of Gas Operations, for CenterPoint Energy. "Natural gas can compete with other vehicle fuels, but we need to expand our infrastructure and nurture the growing natural gas vehicle market."
The expected 2013 additions will bring the number of natural gas fueling stations in CenterPoint Energy's service territory to at least 49, with the majority located in Texas, Oklahoma and Minnesota. A number of retail gasoline stations have also begun exploring plans to add natural gas pumps to their locations.
Consumer interest in natural gas vehicles continues to grow as a result of increased station availability and the low cost compared to traditional gasoline. Across the U.S., a gallon of gasoline costs $3.60 on average, while a gallon of compressed natural gas costs $2.10. According to America's Natural Gas Alliance, natural gas vehicles have also been shown to emit on average 25 percent less carbon dioxide than their gasoline and diesel-burning counterparts.
Consumer interest has attracted the attention of major car manufacturers as well. Ford Motor Company recently announced they sold a record 11,600 natural gas vehicles in their 2012 model year lineup -- more than tripling 2010 sales. General Motors Company and Chrysler Group also added natural gas pickup trucks to their lineups, while Honda has manufactured the natural gas-powered Civix GX since 1998.
While consumer interest continues to grow, companies with fleets -- the largest market for natural gas vehicles -- have embraced the transition. Waste Management, municipal buses in cities throughout the country and other companies with high mileage fleets have already begun converting to natural gas. "The more miles driven, the greater savings companies will see after converting fleets to natural gas," said McGoldrick.
CenterPoint Energy's own natural gas vehicle fleet will grow to 85 vehicles by the end of 2013. Across its service territory, CenterPoint also provides guidelines and tools to help identify promising candidates for natural gas fleet conversion. "Our current strategy is to proactively market natural gas as a transportation fuel in all markets, and fleet conversion emphasizes this goal," said McGoldrick.
In addition to building gas infrastructure to serve compressed natural gas fueling stations, converting its own fleet to natural gas, and providing tools to encourage natural gas fleet conversion, CenterPoint Energy supports legislation and participates in organizations that promote natural gas as a transportation fuel.
"I am proud to say that, at CenterPoint Energy, we're taking a leadership role and doing what we can to make natural gas vehicles an important part of our nation's transportation mix," McGoldrick said. "Our role is to educate, promote and facilitate the economic and environmental advantages of natural gas vehicles, and strive to become a leading energy company for this technology."