Two members of the US Congress, Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL-5) and Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) separately announced legislative initiatives this past week to increase the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. Currently, natural gas costs about half of the price of gasoline and produces approximately one-third less emissions.
Rep. Emanuel plans to introduce legislation that will compel automakers to make 10% of their fleet vehicles run on natural gas by the year 2018. Emanuel’s proposal also includes incentives and tax credits that will result in the addition of natural gas pumps at 20,000 fueling stations across the country.
Emanuel’s bill also:
Offers a $90,000 tax credit to encourage gas station owners to install natural gas fuel pumps.
Provides $2.6 billion in bonding authority to states to provide no or low-interest loans to service stations to install natural gas pumps.
Requires the gas stations owned by the major oil companies to install at least one natural gas pump in each station by 2018.
Includes tax credits for drivers who convert their cars to allow them to run on natural gas and for those Americans who own home “Phill” natural gas fueling units.
Inhofe’s Drive America on Natural Gas Act:
Expands the definition in the Renewable Fuels Standard to allow the use of CNG and LNG fuels to meet the mandates.
Broadens the Alternative Vehicle Tax Credit to include bi-fuel vehicles. Currently only vehicles which solely run on natural gas qualify for this credit.
Establishes a Natural Gas Vehicle Research, Development, and Demonstration program. The program will assist manufacturers in emissions certification, will develop and improve nationally recognized safety codes and standards, will examine and improve the reliability and efficiency of natural gas fueling station infrastructure, and will study the use of natural gas engines in hybrid vehicles. Additionally, it requires the Department of Energy and the EPA to coordinate with the private sector to carry out the program.
Directs the EPA to establish a state demonstration program to streamline the regulations and certifications currently required for the conversion of vehicles to natural gas.
Earlier in July, Senator Inhofe had praised T. Boone Pickens plan to use wind-generated power to displace natural gas used in power generation, allowing it to be applied to the transportation sector.