By Steve Tawa

KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. (CBS) — The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is trying to sell the idea of converting vehicle fleets to alternative fuels.

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Today, at a natural gas vehicle seminar in King of Prussia, Pa., the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said it wants to distribute $20 million in grants over three years to help companies, institutions, and even local governments convert their vehicle fleets to natural gas.

Nicholas DeBenedictis, CEO of Bryn Mawr-based Aqua America (at lectern in photo), says he is committed to transitioning several of the water company’s dump trucks and vans to compressed natural gas (CNG).

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He believes that, long range, the country as a whole (including cars sold at retail) should look to CNG alternatives because it would reduce air emissions and displace OPEC as the primary fuel supplier for America’s vehicles.

DeBenedictis says CNG is a clean, sustainable fuel, obtainable from the large bounty of shale found in central Pennsylvania, offering a sizable step toward the energy independence that America needs.

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