Garfield County is one of nine Colorado counties chosen to participate in a program meant to expand alternative fuels. Refuel Colorado Fleets aims to power more vehicles with fuels like compressed natural gas. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.
Under the plan, a group of so-called “energy coaches” will connect businesses and government agencies with auto dealers, fuel providers and others in the transportation sector. It's in an effort to create an infrastructure for unconventional fuels.
"What is new for us is trying to get an entire community, or entire group within a community, interested in a certain fuel," says Michael Ogburn.
He's an Energy Engineer with Clean Energy Economy for the Region, which is leading the program.
Vehicles powered by electricity and propane may be tested in some counties. In Garfield County, natural gas is fitting, says Ogburn, because already oil and gas fleets and some government vehicles use it. He wants to target service vehicles next.
"Those being plumbers and electricians and HVAC technicians who drive a lot of miles doing the work they do, and burn a lot of fuel doing it in vehicles that happen to be CNG."
Greater use of alternative fuels will minimize air pollution and lessen the country’s dependency on foreign energy, according to the program. A U.S. Department of Energy grant to the Colorado Energy Office is funding the Refuel Colorado Fleets project.