NORMAN, OK – City council members adopted a comprehensive alternative fuel program they believe will be better for the environment and save money in the long run, according to

Over time, the city plans to purchase more compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles and invest in infrastructure to support a slow-fill method for these CNG vehicles. Council members approved the plan in and a grant application to start the program back in February.

Public Works Director Shawn O'Leary said the start-up money would be used to buy two trash collection trucks fueled by compressed natural gas and to build a slow-fill station that could accommodate up to 10 vehicles at a time. If only a portion of the grant money is received, O'Leary said the city would use it to buy the garbage trucks rather than build the filling station. The city then would buy compressed natural gas from the University of Oklahoma.

Norman is the first city in the state to adopt a comprehensive alternative fuel plan and one of only a few nationwide, O'Leary said.

Other alternative fuel sources incorporated into the plan include biodiesel and flex fuel. Flex fuel is about 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent unleaded gasoline.

Fleet superintendent Mike White said the city's current fleet of 867 vehicles includes 82 vehicles that use alternative fuels.

To prepare for compressed natural gas use, he said, the city already has trained and certified two of its mechanics to work on that type of vehicle.