NGVAmerica, the U.S. organization committed to the development and commercialization of vehicles powered by natural gas or hydrogen, commends Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) for introducing the Natural Gas Long Haul Truck Competitiveness Act of 2014 (S. 2721), which will allow heavy natural gas trucks to operate on the Interstate Highway System.
Natural gas trucks enjoy many positive attributes, including the use of a domestic fuel that is both cleaner-burning and more economical than diesel fuel. Despite these positive attributes, the Federal rules on highway truck weights places a constraint on owning and operating a natural gas vehicle. The extra weight of high-pressure or insulated natural gas fuel tanks and associated equipment, which amounts to approximately 2,000 lbs or more (> 900 kgs), means a CNG or LNG truck cannot carry the same amount of freight as a diesel truck. This causes a revenue loss of up to 2–3 percent due to reduced payload.
The Natural Gas Long Haul Truck Competitiveness Act of 2014 would allow a natural gas truck to exceed the weight limit by the difference between the additional weight of the natural gas fuel system in use and the weight of a comparable diesel tank fueling system.
“We thank the Senators for introducing this legislation, which eliminates a disincentive impeding the adoption of natural gas vehicles in the heavy duty truck industry,” said Dave Crompton, President of Cummins’ Engine Business. “We continue to look for different ways to help our customers be as successful as possible, and natural gas provides an additional cost-effective alternative for some of them.”
“Updating the weight allowance for heavy-duty trucks offers a common sense solution to helping natural gas vehicles compete fairly in the market at no additional cost to the U.S. treasury,” said Kathryn Clay, American Gas Association (AGA) Vice President, Policy Strategy. “By ensuring that drivers do not need to choose between operating with full payloads or using clean, domestic natural gas, this forward-thinking legislation removes an unfair barrier to natural gas vehicles, and will help drivers save money on fuel costs, lower tailpipe emissions and reduce dependence on oil from unstable nations.”
“NGVAmerica thanks Sens. Jim Inhofe and Joe Donnelly for their work on this important issue,” said Rich Kolodziej, President of NGVAmerica, “Legislation such as this will help accelerate the growth of the NGV market and provide our country with the environmental benefits and greater energy independence that comes with using clean domestic natural gas as a vehicle fuel.”