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Giving a boost to the compressed natural gas market in Oregon

There are a lot of reasons to diversify the types of fuel that supply the nation’s vehicles, including climate change and high gas prices.  The Oregon Department of Transportation is helping boost the market for compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles by awarding federal funds for eight projects that will advance alternative fuels across the state.  ODOT will award a total of $4 million in federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Funds to qualified projects to spur the CNG market in Oregon and diversify fuel options for Oregon consumers.
 
In announcing the awards, Governor Kitzhaber said, “Today we take an important step forward in diversifying our fuel supply. These awards will support projects that help Oregonians transition to lower-cost, lower-carbon clean fuel.”
 
The Governor’s 10-Year Energy Action Plan calls for converting 20 percent of Oregon’s large fleets to alternative fuels in the next 10 years. Transportation is the single largest contributor to Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 37 percent of total emissions. CNG offers lower greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline or diesel. 
 
Five projects located along the I-5 corridor from Portland to Sutherlin will provide CNG fueling stations for a variety of businesses located throughout Oregon. Other projects will make investments in Oregon communities that currently lack CNG infrastructure, such as Bend. Projects were selected based on a variety of factors, including location, reduction in air emissions, and public benefit.
 
“A resilient economy is less reliant on the boom/bust cycle of a single fuel source,” said ODOT Director Matt Garrett. “Diversifying our fuel supply provides options and helps businesses and local governments save money on their fuel bills, freeing up money they can reinvest.”
 
The winning projects: City of Wilsonville, City of Bend, Clean Water Services (Hillsboro), Smalley Trucking (Sutherlin), Tyree Oil (Roseburg), Fitz Enterprise (NE Portland), Metro (NW Portland) and TriMet (Beaverton).
 
The award recipients—seven CNG fueling stations and one renewable natural gas fueling station—will be used for different services, including transit, public fleets, and waste haulers. The announcement comes the same week as the opening of a new public CNG fueling station in Eugene.