Washington’s Capitol Hill, home to the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, and the House and Senate Office buildings, became the venue for a gathering of natural gas vehicle advocates this week intent on emphasising the urgency for passing the newly introduced H.R. 1380, the “New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions” (NAT GAS) Act of 2011. The NAT GAS Act was highlighted by President Obama as a bipartisan solution in a recent speech about energy at Georgetown University. The bill jump-starts the use of natural gas fuel in our nation’s transportation sector by offering limited tax credits and federal regulatory changes to encourage the production and purchase of natural gas vehicles.
Energy icon T. Boone Pickens was joined by a number of members of Congress, who underscored the importance of natural gas both to their home districts and the country in general. NGVAmerica, which represents the natural gas vehicle industry, sponsored the event. Pickens urged his fellow Americans and Congressional leaders “to look to America’s clean, abundant and affordable natural gas reserves as the key to our energy future.”
“Every month I report on how much money our country is spending on imported oil,” says Pickens. “March tipped the scale as we spent nearly $40 billion—$922,912 per minute—on imported oil, representing a staggering 72% of our oil needs. We are here today to show the country that we are doing something, and we can do a lot more by getting off OPEC oil and onto cleaner, abundant, American natural gas.”
Vehicles powered by American natural gas came from all over the country and were provided by numerous companies, organizations, and manufacturers, including Ryder System, Inc.; the Vehicle Production Group, Inc.; BAF Technologies; IMPCO Automotive; Westport; General Motors Corp.; Washington Gas; Kenworth; Dillon Transport; Navistar; and others.
Last year natural gas vehicles displaced more than 350 million gallons of petroleum in the United States, according to Richard Kolodziej, president of NGVAmerica.
Since its April 6 introduction, the bipartisan legislation has recruited nearly 160 cosponsors from both sides of the political aisle, underscoring the deep and bipartisan support for this American fuel.
“For America’s energy independence, establishing a viable second transportation fuel is a game changer,” said Congressman Kevin Brady. “Targeting business fleets and cargo trucks that offer the greatest promise, this bill creates a strong five-year window to build, buy and refuel natural gas vehicles here at home.”
The NAT GAS Act, a revised version of the one first introduced in 2009, includes the following provisions:
- Tax credits of up to $7,500 toward the purchase of consumer compressed natural gas and liquified natural gas vehicles, and as much as $64,000 for heavier grade commercial trucks
- Up to $4,000 per vehicle for manufacturers of CNG and LNG vehicles
- A $0.50 per gallon discount on the federal fuel tax
- A 50 percent tax credit (maxing out at $100,000) toward the installation of CNG/LNG pumps at public and private filling stations
- A $2,000 credit toward the installation of home refueling stations