State Called Alternative Fuels Leader
By Jessica Danker
Journal Record Staff Reporter
Use of alternative fuels is important to improve this nation's
energy security, and Oklahoma is working hard to raise support
for the industry.
Oklahoma is a leading state in efforts to increase the
presence of alternative fuels in the transportation market, an
official from the U.S. Department of Energy said earlier this
Increased usage of alternative fuels is needed in order to
help decrease this nation's dependence on foreign oil, said
William Jernigan, transportation program manager for the agency's
Jernigan spoke at a meeting of the Natural Gas Vehicle
Coalition of Oklahoma in Tulsa.
In 1994, 50 percent of the petroleum used in the United States
was imported. U.S. petroleum imports totaled 3.26 billion
barrels, according to the statistics from the U.S. Department of
Energy. The nation consumed 6.45 billion barrels during the
Almost two-thirds of the oil consumed in the United States is
used in transportation, Jernigan said. In transportation, 97
percent of the energy used is petroleum, he said.
"So the objective is to attack the higher percentage with
alternative fuel sources. Those are compressed natural gas and
liquefied petroleum gas, or propane," Jernigan said.
Not only is the percentage of imports on an "upward" trend,
but so is the price for the oil.
According to Jernigan, $51 billion, or 31 percent, of the U.S.
trade deficit in 1994 is attributed to crude oil and petroleum
While the amount of U.S. oil imports seems to be continuing,
the alternative fuels industry is working on the issue of energy
security, he said.
"The industry itself is attempting to promote the deployments
(of alternative fuel vehicles.) Federal, state and local
governments are working to encourage expansion of the industry,"
The Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition of Oklahoma was formed last
year by members of the state's natural gas industry and also
representatives from local government to help promote the
industry on the state level.
"Oklahoma has had a statutory policy, comparatively early, in
the effort to introduce alternative fuel," Jernigan said.
Oklahoma's state alternative fuels program was created in 1990
by House Bill 2169. The program administers a loan fund program
for governmental entities and tests, and certifies alternative
fuels technicians. …