Florida Passes Incentive Package for Natural Gas Vehicle Adoption

| USA, Miami FL
Honda Civic Natural Gas joins Florida State University fleet, 2012 (Image FSU)

Honda Civic Natural Gas joins Florida State University fleet, 2012 (Image FSU)

The Florida House of Representatives on Thursday has approved a tax incentive package that provides incentives for vehicle operators in the State to embrace natural gas vehicles. According to the Energy and Utilities Sub-committee Summary Analysis, Bill H.B.579 “creates establishes a fuel tax structure for natural gas used as a motor fuel similar to that for diesel fuel beginning January 1, 2019, thereby exempting natural gas fuel from fuel taxes for five years.”

The Summary Analysis continues:

“The bill also exempts natural gas fuel from state sales and use taxes and expands the definition of “energy efficiency improvement” to include “installation of systems for natural gas fuel” under uses authorized by the Local Government Infrastructure Surtax. The bill may result in increased savings for drivers utilizing vehicles powered by natural gas fuel, an increase in conversions of vehicle fleets from being powered by traditional fuels to natural gas fuel, and an increase in natural gas refueling infrastructure across the state.”

The Bill —

  • allows natural gas fuel retailers to seek deduction of tax levied under specified conditions;
  • provides exemptions & refunds from natural gas fuel tax;
  • expands use of local government infrastructure surtax to include installation of systems for natural gas fuel;
  • provides exemption from taxes for natural gas & natural gas fuel;
  • creates natural gas fuel fleet vehicle rebate program within DOACS (Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services);

The Bill was passed with amendments, then enrolled (see EndNote) May 2nd and sent to Governor Rick Scott for his signature. The legislation becomes effective 1 January 2014.

In preparation for the Bill’s passage the Florida Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (FNGVC) provided the Government with a statement of benefits associated with the use of natural gas for fleet trucks. As listed in the summary:

  • Natural gas vehicles can save a company 30%–50% of its fuel costs.
  • Central fuel and maintenance make fleets highly conducive to CNG fueling infrastructure.
  • While it is true that Florida currently has relatively few natural gas fueling stations in place, several companies offer no-cost or low-cost options for construction and maintenance of such infrastructure.
  • Maintenance on a natural gas vehicle is no more problematic and often easier than traditional diesel trucks.
  • The cost of converting to CNG is decreasing. In addition, such costs are offset by savings in direct fuel costs and possible financial incentives for the purchase of natural gas vehicles.

Celebrating the successful adoption of this legislation Ed Criss, chairman of FNGVC, explains the Bill creates a $6 million/year rebate program for companies that want to buy and expand their NGV fleets.

Click here to see the Summary Analysis online.

EndNote: An Enrolled Bill is a final copy of a bill that has passed both houses of a U.S. Legislative Assembly and has been specially reprinted in preparation for the signatures of the President of the Senate and Speaker of the House. After these confirmatory signatures, the enrolled bill goes to the Governor.

(Source: State Government of Florida)

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