The MERVAN Project – an initiative that envisions the large-scale deployment of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) and beyond – is reportedly one step closer to launch, with a planned meeting between MERVAN director Dave Evans and the U.S. Postmaster General's office scheduled for next month.
According to coverage from The Oklahoman, Evans has been responsible for driving the MERVAN concept at a rapid pace recently, building off an idea that oil and gas stakeholder Ron Mercer, advertising industry exec Bob Hammack and auto dealership owner John Vance began touting in mid-2011.
Their idea, described HERE in a YouTube video, is to leverage the USPS' geographic footprint and existing real estate – more than 30,000 post offices nationwide – to expand NGV refueling infrastructure. In concert, the USPS would also deploy its own NGVs, saving the ailing quasi-governmental agency significant money in fuel costs.
Mercer and Hammack point out that even if just a small fraction of existing post offices hosted a public-access CNG station, the effect on the overall availability of the fuel would be immense. Fuel availability, in turn, would draw more private consumers into the NGV market.
Notably, the MERVAN Project is advocating for the funding of these post-office CNG stations to come solely from the private sector.
Evans told The Oklahoman that MERVAN wants to start with a pilot-scale deployment in Oklahoma City: 500 dedicated CNG USPS vehicles and one new CNG station located at a city post office.