NatGas Act and NGEAR Bill- UPDATED 4/7/12 below
This NATGAS Act will not pass in Congress The NATGAS Act made it to the US Senate in November 2011, but the future doesnt look bright for the bill. It's bi-partisan and all about moving away from foreign oil and toward green fuels. The bulk of this bill is aimed at CNG conversions and CNG subsidies for trucking companies, althought there are other incentives for smaller CNG cars.
It is mainly bad timing for this bill. The big cuss word in congress right now is "subsidy". So even the conservative congressmen who want energy independence aren't willing to cut a check from the taxpayer for CNG car conversions. Further, democrats on the other side of the aisle ,including the President, are only for batteries and windmills. It is a long shot that the liberal congress gets behind NATGAS anytime soon. However, the recent news about the Chevy Volt battery issues could eventually lend a helping hand to CNG car conversions as being the better short term solution for fuel efficient, green vehicles. Thirdly, Natural Gas companies are fighting the coal industry and petrochemical companies, too. Coal is against natural gas anywhere and the chemical companies want to keep natural gas prices low for their own benefit. These are pretty big battles to fight... even for T. Boone Pickens.
If Obama loses in 2012 then things could change, but the GOP will still hold off on CNG subsidy for awhile. This simply means that your CNG car conversions will still be paid 100% out of pocket. But it also means Nat Gas prices will stay low and gasoline prices will stay supported. Check back here for the latest updates, but just remember the CEO of Chesapeake Energy (who supports NatGas) doesn't give the NATGAS Act much chance of passing. And he is not alone.
Here is some background on the NATGAS Act and other Government incentives at federal and state levels.
UPDATE 2/19/12:Nothing much has changed with the subsidy-filled NATGAS ACT. It still sits in the House of Representatives, likely waiting for gasoline to get above $5.00 per gallon.
UPDATE 4/7/12:The Senate voted in favor of the NATGAS Act on 3/13/12 by 51-47. However, they needed 60 votes to move it forward for inclusion. It is dead. Little or no chance of anything happening this election year.
UPDATE 2/19/12:The NGEAR Bill (Natural Gas Energy and Alternative Rewards) has been submitted to Congress by Senator Robert Casey (Democrat) from Pennsylvania. On February 3rd he released the details of the Bill, which is far less comprehensive than the NATGAS Act, but does bring attention to
NGEAR promotes a transition to natural gas vehicles by supporting two main goals: 1. Municipalities get incentives to purchase NEW transit and school buses that operate on CNG and 2. Extend tax credits on CNG fuel and fueling stations.
Although the Bill stops short of incentives specifically for CNG car conversions, NGEAR states that local governments and businesses will get a 30% rebate ,up to $15,000, for any new purchase for transit or school buses running on CNG. It also extends to 2016 a 30% tax credit, up to $30,000, for the expansion of CNG infrastructure like filling stations. This is great for CNG car conversion owners since it simply makes it easier to find those precious CNG pump stations. Perhaps most beneficial to CNG car owners is the NGEAR's extenstion of the 50 cent per gallon alternative fuel tax credit. This will be available wherever CNG is sold and keep prices a little lower. While the debate on government subisidy for CNG is ongoing and a matter of personal opinion, SkyCNG is happy that this cheap, abundant, domestic, and clean alternative fuel is getting more of the spotlight. When more people are aware of the benefits of CNG it will just be a matter of time before the free market takes over (hopefully) and more people can run their vehicle for one or two bucks per gallon.
Keep checking back here for the latest updates.