West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed an executive order establishing a Natural Gas Vehicle Task Force to investigate transitioning the state's vehicle fleet to natural gas fuel and developing an infrastructure to support compressed-natural-gas vehicles.

The task force will analyze potential cost savings of converting gasoline or diesel-fueled vehicles to natural-gas-fueled vehicles. It will also research the potential for the state to operate pilot public access natural gas fueling stations.

The task force will explore partnerships with natural gas producers, infrastructure developers, vehicle manufacturers and others to expand natural gas fueling infrastructure and invest in natural gas fuel solutions.

"West Virginia is blessed with abundant natural resources," says Gov. Tomblin. "With our state being one of the leading producers of natural gas in the nation, it is important for us to explore the feasibility of using this resource to fuel our state's transportation needs. In addition to expanding the market for natural gas, we would lessen our dependence on foreign oil, save taxpayer money and create new jobs."

Citizen members of the task force will have education, experience or specialized knowledge regarding the natural gas industry, alternative fuels, petroleum marketing, transportation, and safety.