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House OKs plan for state fleet to convert to clean fuel
First Published Feb 19 2014 02:22 pm • Last Updated Feb 19 2014 09:42 pm

The House unanimously passed legislation requiring 50 percent of state-owned passenger vehicles to be high efficiency or alternative fuel powered by the end of August 2018.

"It just is a bill that attempts to recognize that alternative fuels will become the way of the future, that cleaner-operating vehicles are good for all of us and it ensures that the state is a willing and able participant in making sure we have cleaner vehicles," said sponsor Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville.

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SB99 was amended to include specific types of alternative fuels, such as hydrogen, electric and natural gas, rather than just "clean emissions" and now goes back to the Senate for final approval.

Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, said the bill needed the broader definition in order to address fuel cost savings as well as reduced emissions.

"This amendment makes the bill much more palatable to me," Handy said.

Rep. Lynn Hemingway, D-Millcreek, asked why the requirement is only 50 percent and why the deadline is 2018.

"I wish it were 100 percent," Hemingway said.

Froerer said both numbers are a compromise that would not put an undue burden on the state. He said he talked with agencies in charge of vehicles who said 50 percent was an attainable goal and that the state might not be able to make the goal if the deadlinewas earlier.

Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, said the proposal is a step in the right direction.

"This is something the state of Utah can do, as stewards, as the biggest employer to say we are trying to lead, we’re trying to do what we can to take some of the pollution off the road," Arent said.

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