Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cockroft Column

House lawmakers continue to review bills in both committee and on the House floor as we continue through the first month of our legislative session. Last Tuesday, while several school board elections were underway, I debated in favor of my legislation to tie school board elections to municipal and some county elections.

Although I have a great respect for the leaders in our community who step up to serve on our school boards, the case has been made to me again and again that the low voter turnout in school board elections shows a need to reform the election process. Tying it to municipal elections will add more voices and votes to the process as well as reduce the cost of elections since not as many ballots would be printed. However, unions and special interest groups have successfully controlled school board elections for years. When you control the way elections are held you can control who wins. I prefer transparency and engagement over control. Unfortunately, I did not receive the votes needed to pass House Bill 1887 as it failed on the floor 44-47. Meanwhile, many of the school board elections taking place did reflect low voter turnout. I will continue pushing this issue as we go forward.

I also have good news to report. My legislation to help counties convert their fleets to compressed natural gas and increase state CNG infrastructure was approved in the first step of the committee process on Monday by a vote of 10-0. The state transportation department’s numbers on utilizing CNG vehicles is staggering. After converting 174 vehicles to CNG, they recorded $163,451 in net savings in 5 months. That’s $32,690 per month. House Bill 2954 would aid counties in converting their fleets to CNG and further multiply those savings throughout the state.

The legislation would require tracking of fuel savings and help the counties develop CNG infrastructure that would be available to counties, municipalities, the state fleet and the general public. It expands on Gov. Mary Fallin’s efforts to advance Oklahoma’s energy policy. We will continue pushing this bill through the process and discussing alternate funding sources to make this policy effective. There is a long path ahead to the completion of this bill, but I am confident in this unique plan and believe it is the best path forward for our state.


It is an honor to serve you. It matter not if you are Republican, Democrat, or Independent; I am here to serve you. Please visit my website to see where I stand on any range of topics and my policy blog at Communication is important to me. I want to know how to I can better serve and lead for our district and our state. I am always a phone call away at: 405-557-7349. You can also email me



1 comment:

  1. Rep. Cockroft,

    While I appreciate the State's attempt to convert to a more cleaner source of fuel, there seems to be a few issues regarding the savings on the vehicles purchased by ODOT, and also the purchase of CNG fuel vehicles by other state agencies. For example, if a state agency were to purchase a Honda Civic 4-door sedan on statewide contract, the base cost of a new CNG vehicle is $24,904 versus $16,988 for a comparable gasoline model. This difference is $7,916 per vehicle, and is an upfront cost to the agency before driving a single mile. Next, the estimated combined MPG for both vehicles is approximately 31-32 MPG per (See.... The higher number of the two is actually the gasoline powered Civic. Finally, with the recent increase in CNG costs and lower regular unleaded fuel prices, the difference in fuel prices would need to be nearly $3.40 per unit assuming the vehicles are driven approximately 75,000 miles their life, or nearly $2.58 per unit assuming the vehicles are driven approximately 100,000 miles over their life.......just to break even. This does not take into account the residual value difference when the vehicles are sold in a future state auction, or the possible maintenance differences due to situations specific to the fuel types, engines, and delivery systems. However, with this type of vehicle, I could not imagine this is a issue.

    Also in the posting above, its stated that a net $163,451 was saved in 5 months on 174 vehicles purchased (converted) to CNG. If these vehicles were purchased, again based on a comparison of various vehicles under statewide contract, it seems hard to believe any minor savings in fuel differences would have resulted in a Net savings For example, a 3/4 ton Dodge Pickup 4x4, similar to those mentioned in a an article dated 11/21/2012 (, on statewide contract would cost nearly $5,800 more than a comparable gasoline truck. Multiply that amount times 156 trucks mention in the article, and you're looking at an upfront difference of over $900,000.

    Again I appreciate your work for our state and listening to my concerns about this rollout.