Natural gas vehicle group names UH engineer as president

HOUSTON — The Greater Houston Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance has selected a University of Houston engineering professor as president, as Houston adds to the national push for the alternative fuel for cars and trucks.

The Alliance, formed in 2009 to promote awareness of natural gas as a transportation fuel, named William Epling, associate chair of the University of Houston’s chemical and biomolecular engineering department, as its president.

“I think we’re more and more confident that natural gas is here to stay,” Epling said in a written statement. “This isn’t a pulse. It isn’t a wave. Natural gas can compete.”

The non-profit organization was formed by Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Apache Corp., Southwestern Energy and CenterPoint Energy, working with the Hobby Center for Public Policy. It now has more than 350 members, as industry searches for uses for the abundant low-cost fuel.

Over the past decade, natural gas prices have ranged from a high of more than $15 per million British thermal units to less than $2 per million British thermal units last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

There are now more than 110,000 natural gas-powered vehicles in the United States, and several trucking companies, such as Waste Management and Republic Services, are converting fleets to compressed natural gas vehicles.

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