The NAT GAS Act of 2011, a bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, would provide increased support for the critical movement to deploy large numbers of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the United States, according to Clean Energy Fuels Corp.
The bi-partisan-sponsored legislation -- the New Alternative Transportation to Give America Solutions (NAT GAS) Act -- would provide expanded tax credits for natural gas used as vehicle fuel, as well as credits for the purchase of NGVs. The bill would also encourage manufacturers to produce dedicated NGVs, and includes tax incentives for developing natural gas fueling infrastructure.
Introduced by Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK), Dan Boren (D-OK), Kevin Brady (R-TX), and John Larson (D-CT), together with 76 co-sponsors, the bipartisan-supported NAT GAS Act is driven by the need for America to quickly reduce its dependence on foreign oil while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions and urban pollution. To achieve these goals, the bill's objective is to accelerate the production and use of natural gas-fueled vehicles.
The NAT GAS Act would restore and expand the NGV tax credit that makes NGVs eligible for a credit equal to 80 percent of the vehicle's incremental cost subject to caps depending upon vehicle size. It would also extend for five years the 50-cent-per-gallon alternative fuel credit for the purchase of natural gas fuel, and would expand tax credit incentives for developing natural gas fueling infrastructure.
"This backing by Congress is critical for our nation to succeed in its goal of creating a new alternate energy economy that's not dependent on imported petroleum, and we applaud efforts to achieve this most important objective," said Andrew J. Littlefair, Clean Energy president and CEO.
"Worldwide, natural gas vehicle use is expanding dramatically. Many countries are rapidly adopting natural gas vehicle solutions in an effort to reduce petroleum use and improve the environment. In the United States, transportation accounts for over 60 percent of petroleum use, and over 60 percent of petroleum is currently imported," Littlefair added.
Littlefair noted that President Barack Obama encouraged this legislation in his energy policy speech at Georgetown University on March 30, 2011.
NGVs, particularly heavy-duty vehicles for waste hauling, transit and trucking, are seen increasingly as a means to reduce dependence on foreign oil and lower harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Costing less than diesel or gasoline, natural gas fuel produces up to 30 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions in light-duty vehicles, and up to 23 percent lower greenhouse gas emissions in medium to heavy-duty applications. U.S. Department of Energy reports estimate that 98 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is sourced in the U.S. and Canada.