NGVAmerica, the U.S. trade association supporting natural gas for transportation, has given its support of a letter written by Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) to US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy urging the consideration of natural gas vehicles in the remediation efforts for the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Inhofe argues NGVs, particularly heavy duty vehicles with low NOx natural gas engines, should be included in EPA’s strategic use of settlement funds.
“NGVAmerica applauds Senator Inhofe’s recognition of the significant emissions benefits provided by clean-burning natural gas vehicles and the cost-effective role that NGV’s could play to remediate excess nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions related to the Volkswagen diesel emissions issue.”
New natural gas engine technologies arriving in the marketplace now could have a significant impact on NOx emissions in areas with the highest pollution problems. Heavy-duty NGVs with “Near-Zero” engines would complement a balanced settlement between EPA and Volkswagen to offset emissions and improve air quality immediately.
Senator Inhofe’s letter was addressed to Administrator McCarthy on March 15, and argues for EPA to give consideration beyond what the Senator refers to in his letter as a February-reported EPA proposal for Volkswagen to produce electric vehicles in North America as part of settlement for the VW emissions issue. “If the purpose of the settlement is to remediate the excess nitrogen oxide and other pollutants emitted by compromised Volkswagen light duty vehicles, requiring light duty EV production will have little overall impact. It is my understanding that new heavy-duty natural gas powered trucks can be equipped with engines that lower nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent or more compared to available diesel engines, and that these heavy duty vehicles, if deployed, could offset significantly more pollution that electric vehicles, and in a much more cost-effective way,” Inhofe states.
“Senator Inhofe has given the EPA a proven path to significantly remediate the excess diesel emissions caused by Volkswagen,” said Clean Energy CEO Andrew Littlefair. “Only a comprehensive solution including both light duty electric vehicles, and natural gas vehicles in the medium and heavy-duty trucking markets, will be able to correct the damage caused to our environment.”
Clean Energy explains that the use of natural gas fuel not only reduces operating costs for vehicles, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 30% in light-duty vehicles and 23% in medium to heavy-duty vehicles.
Volkswagen has until March 24 to provide the court with an explanation as to how it will fix the diesel emissions problem.
Senator Inhofe is Chairman, Environment and Public Works for the United States Senate.