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The Source: The Clean Transportation Triangle

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Texas is awash in cheap natural gas, so much so that hydraulic fracturing rigs have been burning off the gas in their pursuit of the more valuable petroleum. 

Many are advocating for the increased usage of this natural gas in the form of vehicles, including passenger and heavy-duty trucking. According to the Texas Railroad Commission, with 7,000 vehicles on Texas Roads, natural gas vehicles are the most popular alternative fueled vehicle in the state.

The best place to support growing this trend in Texas is the 60,000 square miles encompassing its three largest cities--San Antonio, Houston and Dallas--also called the Clean Transportation Triangle (CTT).

A few grants like the CTT grant, the Alternative Fueling Facilities Program (AFFP), and the Texas Natural Gas Vehicle Program all exist to address aspects of growing the fleet of natural gas vehicles, some directly supporting the infrastructure needed to fuel the cars.

Natural gas powered vehicles have made increased traction on a variety of reports. Natural gas vehicles beat the state comptroller's fueling sales predictions by 72 percent in the first nine months of last year. The state saw a spike in applications to their AFFP and CTT grants, so while these two gave $20.9 million to 54 natural gas stations between 2012-2014, four-fifths or $15 million of that was given last year alone.

The University of Texas San Antonio's Institute for Economic Development argues that this industry is already supporting many jobs and has spurred increased private investment. It believes, increasing state funds now can further spur growth.

Guest:

  • Thomas Tunstall, Research Director for UTSA's Institute for Economic Development 

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive