Two months into the latest contract, Oklahoma agencies have ordered more than 300 compressed-natural-gas powered vehicles.
“We anticipate it will easily climb over 500 over the 12-month contract,” said John Trinder, fleet operations director at Bill Knight Ford in Tulsa.
“We have been selling CNG vehicles for several years, but it’s taken a little while for it to catch on. As the number of public refueling stations are getting more abundant, I think people are starting to catch on.”
Oklahoma has 74 CNG fueling stations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, with more in the works.
Okarche-based OEM Systems LLC and Oklahoma City-based Heartland CNG are among the eight Ford-certified vehicle modifiers throughout the country.
Ford recently began offering various versions of its F-150, including dedicated trucks that run only on CNG and bifuel vehicles that run on both CNG and gasoline.
“For fleet customers in Oklahoma, Texas and other states, a CNG F-150 really makes sense,” Ford Fleet Manager Jon Coleman said. “The fuel is more affordable and widely available, and it reduces greenhouse gases and pollutants that cause smog.”
Trinder said he has seen demand for both versions.
“Most people prefer the bifuels. However, larger commercial applications do not have the room to have both systems in the truck, so they elect to go dedicated,” Trinder said. “That saves weight, although you don’t have as much range with the dedicated fuel.”
The bifuel models have a combined range of about 750 miles, or almost twice the distance of dedicated versions, he said.