Legislative proposals aimed at making it safer, more convenient and more cost-effective for trucking transportation companies to use natural gas when transporting goods across the country have been introduced in the US. If adopted, three bills sponsored by Representatives Lee Terry and Sam Graves will improve the ability of long haul truck drivers to access and utilize natural gas as a fuel.
The sponsors have delivered their proposals in response to the growing number of heavy duty fleet operators adopting natural gas, the economic and environmental benefits to be gained from using natural gas, and the fuel’s inherent potential to transform trucking across America’s major transportation routes.
To ensure the nation’s infrastructure is prepared for such a shifty, the three bills would:
- Direct the Secretary of Transportation to designate natural gas fueling corridors for long haul truck traffic.
- Allow an exemption from the current truck weight limit solely for the purpose of the weight of the natural gas tank, so that trucks using the fuel are not at a disadvantage
- Establish a task force among the Departments of Energy and Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), members of Congress, state government, and private sector representatives to evaluate barriers to transition from diesel fuel to natural gas, as well as the costs and benefits of using natural gas in trucks and what such a switch could mean for the Highway Trust Fund. The task force would produce a report within 120 days of the bill becoming law.
The introduction of these bills preceded President Obama’s State of the Union speech on January 28, during the President urged Congress to support the construction of natural gas fueling stations for American cars and trucks.
“I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for diversifying our nation’s energy supply,” said Congressman Terry. “With this plentiful resource, I’m convinced that we can and must expand natural gas use in transportation. Learning everything we can about barriers to natural gas use and removing those barriers should be common sense in our quest for an all-of-the-above energy strategy. I’m pleased to partner with my friend Sam Graves on these three pieces of legislation that will help further diversify our energy portfolio.”
“Utilizing natural gas in the long haul trucking industry just makes sense,” said Congressman Graves, who chairs the small Business Committee. “Natural gas is more cost-efficient than diesel. It also has the ability to substantially reduce emissions”
(Source: Congressman Terry)