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Guardsman aims to increase use of CNG as alternative to foreign oil

Oklahoma National Guard member Justin Steckman wants to help reduce America's reliance on foreign oil, so he and his partners have opened a shop that converts vehicles to run on natural gas.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: November 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm •  Published: November 16, 2012

The credit union is one of several local financial institutions that have established programs to finance CNG conversions, which are expensive despite government rebates.

“They're doing a great thing for the industry because they're making it available to the common man,” Steckman said.

Growing business

The Norman company converts about two vehicles a day, but Steckman said he hopes to expand to five a day by March.

He said there are U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified conversion kits for many Ford, GM and Dodge vehicles that typically are part of fleets, but he expects more kits to become available in the future.

Steckman said the popularity of natural gas as a fuel is growing, particularly in Oklahoma.

“There's no better state than Oklahoma to do natural gas,” he said.

The state offers a tax incentive for conversions and related purchases, while Oklahoma Natural Gas recently won approval for a rebate program that pays up to $1,000 for conversions and home-fueling appliances.

“There's no one else offering that kind of incentive,” Steckman said.

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