DTE Energy has received a $5.4 million federal grant through Clean Energy Coalition to fund the conversion of more than 170 gasoline-powered fleet vehicles to run on compressed natural gas (CNG).
The grant, which was awarded to Clean Energy Coalition's Green Fleets program by the U.S. Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also pays for the construction of two new CNG fueling stations and the refurbishment of 11 others across Michigan. The two new stations are in Melvindale and in East China Township.
Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. (MichCon) is converting 173 brand new Ford service vehicles to operate on CNG. MichCon, a unit of DTE Energy, is matching the grant with $6.8 million towards the purchase of the base service vehicles and additional CNG station upgrades.
Clean Energy Coalition is an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working with public and private partners to develop and implement clean energy technologies and strategies. Its Green Fleets initiative helps Michigan companies deploy clean-fueled vehicles and build the necessary fueling infrastructure to support them.
"Natural gas vehicles offer a safe complementary technology to gasoline, hybrid and electric vehicles – and they are particularly well suited to medium- and heavy-duty applications," said Jerry Norcia, President and Chief Operating Officer of MichCon & Group President DTE Energy. "NGVs are ready for the road today with technology that operates like a gasoline vehicle, but with lower fuel costs and significantly lower emissions."
CNG fuel prices currently average about $1.95 per gasoline gallon equivalent (gge) compared to gasoline prices of $3.70 a gallon. In addition, natural gas vehicles can produce significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than diesel or gasoline powered cars and trucks.