In 1998, when Yvonne Anderson took the reins of the recently formed Central Oklahoma Clean Cities (COCC) coalition, petroleum was the only game in town for the region’s transportation sector. Fifteen years later, Oklahoma boasts more than 200 alternative-fueling stations, due in great part to an enduring commitment to sustainability by Anderson and dozens of public and private sector fleets.
COCC member fleets that have helped lead the way include Oklahoma Natural Gas Company, the City of Oklahoma City, the City of Norman, the State of Oklahoma, the University of Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State University. Under Anderson’s leadership, the coalition established the state’s first municipally owned biofuels station, first publicly accessible E-85 station, first multi-fuel alternative-fueling station, first municipal public-access natural gas station, and first municipal electric vehicle charging station.
“Back in the mid-1990s, we were starting from scratch,” Anderson said. “But, we’ve all been working together to move forward for a cleaner, greener, more secure energy future.”
In 2012 alone, COCC stakeholders saved more than 3 million gallons of petroleum and averted more than 8,000 tons of green-house gas emissions. And, fleets are keeping the momentum going with new alternative-fuel vehicle acquisitions and infrastructure development.
Oklahoma City recently added two all-electric Nissan LEAF sedans to its municipal motor pool; they charge in a highly visible downtown location, giving residents an up-close look at electric transportation technology.
In 2012, the City of Norman opened a new compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station, which serves two industrial mowers, three refuse trucks, one dual-CNG-engine street sweeper, one heavy-duty field service truck, 36 light-duty vehicles, and one school bus.
COCC’s successes have gained national attention. In June 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy inducted Anderson into the Clean Cities Hall of Fame.
“For 15 years, Yvonne Anderson has proven herself to be a true pioneer and a dedicated mentor to others in the deployment of alternative fuels and advanced vehicles,” said Clean Cities National Director Dennis Smith.