Natural Gas Closer to Becoming Mainstream U.S. Transportation Fuel

| USA, Washington DC
NGVAmerica filling station map

U.S. natural gas filling station locations map (Image: NGVAmerica)

Last week the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services reached agreement with House of Representative counterparts regarding the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2015, resulting this week in the passage of provision that will incentivize the production of natural gas vehicles (NGVs). The provision emphasizes the reduction of dependency on fossil fuels and seeks greater energy security and independence and pursues technological advances in traditional and alternative energy storage.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and senior member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, has joined U.S. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of SASC, in praising the passage of a provision which is based off S.2065, The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Development Act, introduced by Inhofe and Levin on Feb. 28, 2014.

“Enactment of this bipartisan provision moves natural gas one step closer towards becoming a mainstream fuel for our everyday cars,” Inhofe said. “Natural gas is an underutilized clean and abundant domestic energy resource for U.S. transportation in part due to outdated regulations.”

“Passage of our bipartisan legislation will give a boost to this innovation, which is ensuring that the vehicles of the future are made right here in America,” added Levin.

Current law allows automakers to earn credits for compliance with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program by producing alternative fuel dual-fueled vehicles, but these credits are subject to a cap.  Automakers currently earn the majority of their allowed credits by producing E85 Flex-Fuel vehicles, leaving none for natural gas vehicles.  The NDAA provision modifies the program by removing the credit cap for natural gas dual-fueled vehicles.

“This bipartisan provision promotes the tangible benefits that natural gas vehicles offer in increasing the use of an abundant and affordable American resource,” Frank Macchiarola, executive vice president of government affairs for America’s Natural Gas Alliance, said.  “This provision will help pave the way for the deployment of cleaner, more efficient vehicles on our highways and allow our nation to enjoy the environmental and economic advantages natural gas offers.”

“We applaud the efforts of Senators Levin and Inhofe to include this important market-based incentive in the NDAA Authorization that will encourage automakers and vehicle purchasers to put more NGVs on American roads,” Matthew Godlewski, president of NGVAmerica, said. “The increased use of domestic natural gas as a transportation fuel reduces tailpipe emissions, lowers dependence on foreign oil, grows American jobs, and keep more money in the pockets of the driving public. This is the most significant NGV legislation passed by the Congress in some time and we believe it will help move the ball forward in expanding the use of natural gas as a mainstream transportation fuel.”

(Source: United States Senate)

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