The Texas Department of Transportation has launched a new pilot program that will test the use of natural gas vehicles in order to save money and improve air quality.
TxDOT announced Wednesday the launch of the Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Pilot Program, which will begin with the purchase of four CNG Ford F250 trucks to perform daily operations in order to establish the availability of natural gas vehicles and fuel stations and whether or not a natural gas fleet will be able to meet TxDOT's needs.
"As an agency with one of the largest fleets and most miles traveled, it's incumbent upon TxDOT to find more efficient ways to do business, yet still provide Texans with exceptional service," said Texas Transportation Commissioner Bill Meadows in a statement. "Natural gas is an abundant resource in the Lone Star State that has enormous potential for our state's future. I applaud TxDOT and the natural gas industry for coming together on this project."
These new vehicles are attractive to TxDOT as natural gas vehicles cost approximately 40 percent less to refuel than vehicles that run on gasoline, emit up to 90 less greenhouse gases, and typically cost less to maintain. These factors mean that in the long run, these TxDOT natural gas vehicles would save taxpayers money while also improving air quality.
The new natural gas trucks will be tested in parts of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area where support for the alternative fuel options is high, such as the city of Irving. TxDOT has not released a timeline for the pilot program, but stated that it will evaluate the success of the program to see if more of these vehicles should be purchased.