By Patrick B. McGuigan
On a clear, breezy and mild day in Oklahoma City, Gov. Mary Fallin led a cheerful celebration for the Sooner State’s largest marketer of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as an automobile fuel.
Jim Griffith, chief executive officer of OnCue Express, praised Fallin’s support of the natural gas industry and for advocating increased conversion to CNG to rule cars. He said Fallin “is a governor who gets it.”
OnCue is Oklahoma’s largest CNG retailer, working through many of its popular convenience stores to market the alternative fossil fuel, which burns cleaner and is less expensive than liquid gas. Use of CNG for autos has saved drivers roughly $6 million in the past two years, cutting emissions in the process.
OnCue, based in Stillwater, operates 13 CNG stations, including the host site (1 N.W. 23 St. in Oklahoma City) for last weeks’ celebration. OnCue has sold 3 million gasoline gallons equivalent (GGE)
Overall, the number of CNG stations in the state is on track to triple from 31 sites in 2010 to a projected 100 during 2013. This makes it possible to drive anywhere in the state solely on CNG, Griffith said.
Fallin has led bipartisan efforts among the nation’s governors to encourage production of more CNG vehicles from Detroit and other centers of American auto manufacturing. The state Department of Transportation, represented by Secretary Gary Ridley, has added 160 CNG vehicles to its fleet, with plans to eventually use CNG in 90 percent of its total fleet. At the state Department of Commerce, Secretary Dave Lopez has announced plans to convert one-half of that agency’s fleet to CNG use.
Also attending the OnCue celebration, held Nov. 29, was Mike Ming, Fallin’s Energy Secretary.
OnCue now has the most CNG fuel stations of any company in Oklahoma, taking advantage of changes in public policy intended to boost CNG use for private vehicles.
Fallin said CNG use is already “changing the face of transportation in America.” She presented Griffith a governor’s proclamation to mark the 3 million gallon equivalent sale. She told the crowd she uses CNG vehicles regularly for trips to and from Tulsa from her state Capitol office.
State Sen. Cliff Branan, an Oklahoma City Republican, and Rep. Seneca Scott, a Tulsa Democrat, joined in the event. As a wrap-up to the festivities, they helped Fallin, Ming and Ridley fill up a state Department of Transportation vehicle at the OnCue CNG on the store lot’s north side.