ONG offers rebate program for CNG vehicle owners
BY ROD WALTON World Staff Writer
Saturday, June 30, 2012
7/03/12 at 8:22 PM
Correction: This story originally contained incorrect information about CNG conversion kits. The story has been corrected.
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Buyers of compressed natural gas vehicles can apply for an Oklahoma Natural Gas Co. rebate, and the surcharge that funds the program kicks in Sunday.
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission approved ONG's surcharge of 25 cents per gallon of gasoline equivalent on June 18, and many residents who have purchased a pure CNG or bi-fuel vehicle back to that date are eligible for rebates up to $2,500. The utility also will offer a $2,500 rebate for installing home CNG fueling systems.
"CNG has just been embraced by Oklahomans," ONG spokeswoman Cherokee Ballard said. "We've had people calling asking when they can start applying."
The application doesn't mean they'll get paid right away. ONG will need to generate revenue through the surcharge and will take its first look at how much is in the fund on Aug. 15, Ballard said.
The ONG program allocates $2,500 for pure CNG vehicles and $1,500 for cars that run on CNG and gasoline. The specific vehicle must be no older than 10 years and can receive only one rebate no matter how many times it is bought or sold.
The ONG program pays rebates for conversion kits that meet EPA standards and are installed within 90 days of purchase.
The surcharge is being added at all of ONG's CNG stations statewide.
"This program's ongoing," Ballard said. "There's no end date."
The rebate sounds good to Russ Casey, who runs the Morris Auto Sales CNG dealership south of Tulsa. He hopes customers will look at the ONG website to understand all the ins and outs of the CNG rebate and believes it's a good thing for his business.
"I think it's a big deal," Casey said. "I think it will boost more people who are borderline (about buying CNG vehicles). It will give them a good incentive to go in that direction."
In addition, the state of Oklahoma still offers a onetime $1,500 tax rebate for CNG vehicles bought in-state. Federal credits have expired.
"That would be a $4,000 overall credit for full CNG vehicles," Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner said. "That could bring a CNG Honda more in line with a regular Honda."
CNG prices at the pump range from $1.11 to $1.89 per gallon of gas equivalent, depending on the station, Casey noted. The price remains low although the CNG vehicle market has varied with the highs and lows of gasoline and crude oil costs.
"It really is a volatile business," said Casey, who's been buying and selling CNG vehicles for 13 years. "It's been a good year overall, even with the gasoline prices retreating."
Original Print Headline: ONG rebate program begins
Rod Walton 918-581-8457