Odyssey Day in the South

Earlier in Year Two, the state of Mississippi held its National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Thursday at the State Capitol in Jackson. Better known as ‘Odyssey Day’, it featured presentations from industry experts on alternative fuel vehicles, a roundtable including perspectives from fleet users, and a presentation on air quality benefits.

The main purpose of Odyssey Day is to foster awareness about alternative fuel vehicle technologies. The 2012 Odyssey Day was hosted by Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) and was sponsored by CenterPoint Energy and Blossman Gas. For the weeks leading up to Odyssey Day, MSU EcoCAR worked with MDA to make sure this year’s event was a success. One distinguishing factor Odyssey Day always brings to the table is the vast array of alternative fuel vehicles on display for government officials, representatives from fuel and energy industries and the general public to see.

A main topic of discussion at the event was why Mississippians should chose natural gas vehicles and why natural gas is an important transportation fuel in the state. Kent Meadows of Natural Gas Market Penetration provided information regarding the mileage and performance of natural gas vehicles; the was indicated to be safer than gas or diesel.

“It is very dependable” Meadows said, “even in emergency situations.”

Along with Meadows, other experts offered material showing that natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel according to meadows. It also reduces Nitrogen Oxide emissions by 75-95 percent and it’s even a natural resource of Mississippi! The dialogue between industry experts and the public allowed for a productive forum and brought the importance of natural gas to the forefront of public discussion.

One of the reasons Odyssey Day is so important to MSU EcoCAR is that Mississippi is one of the few states without a Clean Cities Coalition. The team is working with state officials to bring Clean Cities to Mississippi, and Odyssey Day provides an avenue to help expand the perceived need for a Clean Cities in the state. It also acts as an open forum between representatives from different energy sources – natural gas, electricity, coal, diesel, and ethanol – and allows them to discuss non-partisan ways to bring these fuels to market.