In the U.S. State of New Mexico, the Legislature last week introduced a ‘Joint Memorial’ — HJM 5 : INCREASE NATURAL GAS VEHICLE USE — which recognises the importance of increasing natural gas vehicle (NGV) use in the United States and New Mexico, and requests a study on how to build the NGV market within the State.
Included in the list of principles underpinning the proposed resolutions (extracted from HJM 5) are:
- energy independence and security has been a national goal that the United States has pursued for over forty years;
- the transportation sector accounts for one-fourth of national energy consumption;
- The U.S. has abundant natural gas reserves, and production is expected to continue to grow over the next twenty-five years;
- On September 14, 2015, a new state energy policy for New Mexico that includes a goal of building the market for natural gas vehicles was announced;
- Improving air quality has been a continuing goal of New Mexico’s urban centers for over forty years;
- As a fuel for cars and trucks, natural gas provides several environmental benefits compared to gasoline and diesel, including lower particulate matter emissions and
reduced release of greenhouse gases in the production chain from well to consumer;
- Natural gas vehicles emit less than seventy-five percent of the carbon dioxide and only five percent of the nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide emitted by gasoline and
- School systems and municipalities in the U.S. have historically saved money over the long term by using natural gas vehicles instead of gasoline or diesel for their bus fleets due to lower prices per energy equivalent units, greater stability in fuel price and lower vehicle maintenance costs.
- Increasing the market share of natural gas vehicles within the state will help New Mexico’s urban and economic centers stay ahead of changing national air
A variety of Federal incentives are also referred to as facilitating the implementation of an NGV presence in New Mexico.
NGVAmerica, the national natural gas vehicle industry body based in Washington DC, has been working with TECO (New Mexico Gas Co.), Clean Energy and legislative leaders on the resolutions. The Joint Memorial sponsored by key leaders in the legislature requests that the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and the Economic Development Department develop a report that identifies:
- How New Mexico can increase the use of natural gas vehicles (NGV) within the state including what types of incentives are needed;
- Obstacles to increasing the use of NGVs by large fleet operators and individual consumers;
- The methods being used by other states to promote their NGV markets;
- The potential for New Mexico to receive Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program funding and other federal funding to increase NGVs; and
- A plan for alternative fuel corridors within the state.
The Departments are to consult with members of the New Mexico Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. The Report is to be presented prior to November 15, 2016.
Increasing the use of natural gas in general and more specifically in transportation is seen as a key economic driver for the state. One area where natural gas vehicles could play a major role in New Mexico is in supporting the build out of the states inland port, Santa Teresa, which is currently experiencing significant growth.
The legislature also has introduced a measure in the House (HB 176) that directs state authorities to provide a weight allowance for natural gas trucks based on the additional weight of their fuel systems and storage tanks.
(Source: New Mexico Legislature; NGVAmerica)