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W.Va. gov orders study of natural gas for vehicles

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is hoping West Virginia can embrace natural gas as an alternative fuel for vehicles.

Tomblin signed an executive order Tuesday creating a Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force. The governor wants this group to determine whether the state can save money and reduce its reliance on oil by converting at least some government vehicles.

The group will also study ways to build the necessary service stations. West Virginia had several compressed natural gas filling centers in the 1990s, but they failed to catch on with consumers.

Supporters of this latest push say factors including the contrasting prices for gasoline and natural gas are now in their favor.

Tomblin signed the order in Clarksburg at a facility for the Division of Highways, a potential beneficiary of vehicle conversion.