Betting on his new energy plan, oil mogul T. Boone Pickens has helped invest $160 million in a company that makes taxi cab fleets that run on natural gas, a cleaner burning fuel.
Pickens, along with lead investor Perseus, a private equity bank, invested this week in Troy, Michigan-based Vehicle Production Group (VPG). VPG makes natural gas-fueled taxi cabs and consumer cars that are wheelchair accessible. Clean Energy Fuels Corp., which was founded by Pickens, is also an investor in VPG. The company said it plans to use the funds to further production of vehicles for release by early 2010.
Of course, natural gas cars are part of Pickens' energy plan, which he announced with much fanfare in early July. The so-called Pickens Plan calls for greater use of natural gas cars in the United States to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil. Still, Pickens himself has been criticized for drawing up an energy plan based on his own investments.