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Sun November 27, 2016 - West Edition #24
Drivers on Oklahoma interstates will soon see signs of the state's effort to improve alternative fueling infrastructure. On Nov. 3, the Federal Highway Administration designated I-35, I-40 and I-44 in Oklahoma as alternative fuel corridors, a special designation aimed at improving the mobility of passenger and commercial vehicles that run on alternative fuels.
This new designation means special highway signage indicating the nearest alternative fueling station will eventually be placed along these highways by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
The Association of Central Oklahoma Governments and the Indian Nations Council of Governments partnered with ODOT to nominate several Oklahoma highways as alternative fuel corridors. The FHWA approved I-35, I-40 and I-44 as signage ready natural gas fuel corridors and planned electric vehicle (EV) charging corridors, meaning Oklahoma is making strides in development of its EV infrastructure.
Oklahoma is the only state with all of its interstate system designated as signage ready for CNG and is now linked to a national network of alternative fuel corridors via highway connections with Texas and Missouri.
“Oklahoma's interstates are now part of a national network of highways with easy access to alternative fueling stations,” said Mike Patterson, ODOT executive director.
“The federal designation and placement of signs on our highways will improve travel for drivers and commercial fleets using CNG and electric vehicles.”
“We are excited about this designation from the Federal Highway Administration as it shows the progress of the state's commitment to an all the above energy strategy, which includes transportation. Alternative fueled vehicles, such as natural gas and electric vehicles, are a key piece of the Oklahoma First Energy Plan to utilize domestic fuels that are clean, efficient, and affordable products of the state”
Secretary of Energy and Environment Michael Teague said, “As more Oklahomans make the switch to natural gas or electric vehicles they know that we have the infrastructure to support them.”
The federal Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act directed the FHWA to designate national highway corridors for EV charging, hydrogen, propane, and CNG fueling.
“This designation allows us to capitalize on our position as the crossroads of America while focusing the development of alternative fueling infrastructure in strategic locations where they are most needed for in-state and out-of-state travel.” Rich Brierre, INCOG executive director said, praising the news.
“Increased use of alternative fuels supports local economic development, increased energy security, and improved air quality. This helps our regional efforts in meeting ever-changing demands of our transportation system,” said John Johnson ACOG executive director.
Oklahoma was uniquely qualified to designate natural gas corridors due to the wide availability of CNG fueling along the state's interstates and highways, and its central position along major highways that cross the nation from coast to coast and from Mexico to Canada. Oklahoma leads the nation in CNG fueling stations per capita, with at least one natural gas fueling station on every 100 miles of interstate highway in the state. Most stations can accommodate both passenger and commercial vehicle fueling.
While Oklahoma's electric vehicle charging network is less developed, a diverse group of EV stakeholders including convenience stores, electric utilities, auto dealerships, and local governments is working together to identify and construct strategic locations for high-capacity EV chargers that will ensure border-to-border charging within Oklahoma, and connections to neighboring states.
A nationwide map of FHWA-designated alternative fuel corridors can be found at: www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/alternative_fuel_corridors/maps.
To learn more about alternative fuels, visit www.okcleancities.org or www.tulsacleancities.com.
For more information, visit odot.org.