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Oklahoman reporter tests alternative fuel vehicles

Business reporter Jay F. Marks tried out three alternative fuel vehicles after Thursday's Clean Fleet Technologies Symposium.
Oklahoman Modified: May 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm •  Published: May 10, 2013

I'm sold.

I spent half of Thursday listening to how alternative fuels — electricity, propane or compressed natural gas — can slash costs for fleets looking to save money on gasoline or diesel. They also reduce harmful emissions.

Every option spotlighted during the Clean Fleet Technologies Symposium sponsored by Central Oklahoma Clean Cities and the state Commerce Department seemed to be a compelling one.

Electric vehicles can run on as little as a few coins worth of power per mile, with technological improvements looming on the horizon.

Propane offers more range than any other fuel for about half of the price of gasoline.

Natural gas, once it is compressed or liquefied, is an abundant fuel that performs on par with gasoline at a fraction of the price.

I had the opportunity to test drive three alternative fuel vehicles Thursday at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City's Precision Driving Training Center.

It was impossible to tell any difference between them and a standard vehicle, other than the space-age dashboard of Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co.'s Chevrolet Volt, an electric hybrid.

Each offered a smooth ride along the twisty half-mile course with easy acceleration in the straightaways.

Those alternative vehicles come with higher upfront costs so they're not for everyone, but no one should question their performance.


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