The pilot project calls for a test fleet of 500 natural gas vehicles and one fast-fill CNG station at a post office. The Oklahoma City area is home to the postal service's training center so workers can be trained here to maintain the new fleet.
Evans said program officials hope the program can save money for the postal service, expanding concentrically from Oklahoma City.
“If it works like we think it will, we can leverage 134 billion gallons of gas annually, that private market and transition a portion of it to natural gas,” Evans said. “That in turn will build the infrastructure because business people would live to make money off of natural gas vehicles. Until they have a market, there's no benefit for them building the stations.”
Officials said the plan could generate $3.5 billion in sales for U.S. automakers, while helping them meet rigorous fuel efficiency standards.
There are other plans to move the postal service onto natural gas, but officials said this one is different because it calls for dedicated natural gas vehicles.
Evans said bi-fuel vehicles available now lose a lot of space to natural gas tanks.
“We want to incentivize OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to build dedicated vehicles,” he said.
That would make CNG a viable alternative for families, Evans said, who need plenty of room to haul kids and equipment.