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Development & Transportation

Alternative Fuels Education Day in Harrisburg

Representatives of Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future (PennFuture), the PennFuture Energy Center and alternative fuels businesses gathered in Harrisburg today to host Alternative Fuels Education Day. The event included exhibits and presentations in the capitol building's East Wing Rotunda, while electric, natural gas, and biodiesel vehicles were parked outside on Commonwealth Avenue.

Energy Center Director Christina Simeone said there are choices available now that will lessen the nation's dependence on oil, create jobs, and improve the environment. She said the right policies and infrastructure will facilitate these choices for consumers.

"They have to know that there's going to be electric vehicle charging stations and natural gas refueling stations and biodiesel options that are available," said Simeone. "In addition to infrastructure, there has to be a lot of consumer education about these different fuel choices and the viability of these different fuels as an alternative to oil."

Simeone encouraged consumers to educate themselves about the choices available and to see how much they might save when buying a new car, given that the price of oil is sure to go up as worldwide demand increases.

Meantime, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today the launch of a Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) website and plan to assist municipal and commercial fleet owners convert their fleets to compressed and liquefied natural gas.

"Website users have a unique opportunity to submit information to DEP
about projects they may be considering, so that we can craft a program to best serve
their needs and help make resulting grant applications competitive," said DEP Secretary Mike Krancer.

Act 13 authorizes the department to devise and implement a Natural Gas Energy Development Program to distribute up to $20 million in grants over three years to help pay for the incremental purchase and conversion costs of fleet vehicles.

"Municipalities and employers have many questions about costs and benefits," said Public Utility Commission Chairman Robert Powelson said. "This website will go a long way toward providing answers."

The DEP will host six regional NGV seminars this fall about grants and information to convert vehicles to natural gas.