Noting the introduction of the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions (NATGAS) Act of 2011, NPGA President Richard Roldan urged Congress to think twice about enacting any bill that removes consumer choice from purchasing decisions on alternative fuel vehicles.
The bill is designed to boost the number of alternative fuel vehicles on America’s roads, but it is actually only a half-measure because it excludes propane autogas vehicles. “The NATGAS Act recognizes the role alternative fuel vehicles can have in reducing foreign oil consumption and cleaning up our environment,” stated Roldan. “However, by excluding propane autogas vehicles, the legislation ignores an equally useful, abundant, domestic fuel available right now to serve Americans.”
Sponsored by Reps. John Sullivan (R-OK,) Dan Boren (D-OK), John Larson (D-CT) and Kevin Brady (R-TX), the NATGAS Act identifies the national priority to wean the United States off of foreign oil. However, by supporting solely natural gas vehicles as the solution and ignoring propane autogas alternatives, NATGAS falls demonstrably short.
Propane autogas offers nearly identical and, in some cases, better attributes than natural gas: about 95% of propane is produced in the United States or Canada; vehicle greenhouse gas emissions are roughly the same; and fleets nationwide are switching to propane autogas vehicles. However, the propane autogas refueling infrastructure is significantly cheaper and more available than natural gas. Moreover, because propane autogas is a portable fuel, refueling infrastructure can be placed anywhere – rural or urban – while similar natural gas facilities must be located on a natural gas line.
“Alternative fuel vehicle legislation should abide by the principle of fuel neutrality and not pick winners and losers for consumers in their choice of alternative fuels and vehicles”, noted Roldan. “The NATGAS Act does not meet this standard. There is no reasonable policy argument to provide federal incentives the natural gas vehicle industry and not apply those same incentives to propane autogas. We look forward to working with all stakeholders as well as Members of Congress to ensure that domestically produced, clean and abundant propane autogas is part of this country’s energy independence solution.”
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