OSU Stillwater Saves Big By Using Alternative, Home Grown Fuel

Thursday, April 21st 2011, 5:35 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News On 6

STILLWATER, Oklahoma -- We would all love to save money on gas right now. Saving more than $1.50 a gallon sounds pretty good doesn't it?

Oklahoma State opened a new compressed natural gas fueling station today. It's a way OSU's Orange is now going Green and saving big bucks in the process.

Joined by Governor Mary Fallin, and the nation's leading advocate for natural gas, T. Boone Pickens, Oklahoma State leaders officially opened a new compressed natural gas fueling station.

"It's cleaner. It's cheaper. It's abundant. It's domestic. And you don't have to refine it," said Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis.

Eighteen of the buses in the university's fleet are now running on CNG. Transit Director Steve Spradling says it is saving OSU a lot of money.

"Just in March alone, we saved about $17,000 on the local transit system," Spradling said.

Oklahoma State University hopes to at one point convert all of its fleet to compressed natural gas, not just the big buses. That has the potential for big savings, because the university always has somebody on the road. Whether it's recruiters visiting high schools, or extension office employees in every single county across Oklahoma.

OSU hopes to soon convert 90 of its small vehicles to CNG. Oklahoma State's fueling station is also open to the public and basically works like any other gas pump that takes credit or debit cards.

Governor Mary Fallin says the station is a significant step toward more widespread use of the alternative fuel.

"It takes somebody to get it going, and Oklahoma State certainly has been the leader," said Governor Mary Fallin. "Hopefully, this will spur on many other people in the industry to put in the fuel stations."

The biggest supporter of natural gas use, Boone Pickens, says it's not only a cost savings issue, it's a national security issue.

"We're buying oil from the enemy. We're fools to do what we're doing," said T. Boone Pickens, a CNG advocate.

But Pickens believes what Oklahoma State is doing is wise: saving money and investing in the future.

"Listen, America will get on board. You will, I will. The next car you buy, you'll look very seriously at domestic fuel instead of foreign oil," he said.

The rest of OSU's buses will be converted to CNG, or replaced with natural gas buses, when they age out of the fleet. That includes the five shuttle buses that go back and forth from Tulsa to Stillwater each day.