Washington D.C. - Several natural gas-affiliated groups today called on the federal government to create a level playing field when it comes to adopting a fuel economy and GHG emissions plan for manufacturing cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles under new standards being proposed for cars and light duty trucks starting in 2017.
In comments filed today, the American Clean Skies Foundation (ACSF), the American Gas Association (AGA), America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) and the Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) all urged the government to encourage auto manufacturers to produce natural gas as well as other alternative fuel vehicles in order to meet the stricter tail pipe emission and mileage standards proposed for the 2017-2025 model years by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a part of the Department of Transportation.
The low price of natural gas, its low emissions profile and scalable technology allows natural gas and dual-fuel (natural gas/gasoline) vehicles to play a major role in reducing emissions, advancing U.S. energy security and meeting the statutory goals underlying the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program.
In his State of the Union address, President Obama said, “The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.”
In the proposed rulemaking, EPA and NHTSA aim to improve fuel efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and strengthen U.S. energy independence. NGVS are one of the most cost-effective means of fulfilling those goals. The proposals offered today focus on showing regulators how to encourage greater development and use of natural gas vehicles while remaining budget neutral.
As written, the agencies’ proposed rules create special manufacturing incentives that favor electric vehicles, which puts the government in the position of supporting one technology over another, and is at odds with the president’s commitment to put more natural gas vehicles on the road so our nation can reap the full benefits of responsibly developing America’s domestic supplies of natural gas.
“These new transportation standards are one of the most important steps this administration has taken to increase our use of domestic energy and cut tailpipe emissions. The auto companies should be offered a technology neutral set of incentives to achieve those goals so that NGVs and other clean, fuel-efficient drive trains can all compete,” said Gregory C. Staple, CEO of the American Clean Skies Foundation.
“Natural gas is a clean, abundant, domestic fuel that can enhance our energy security, but putting more NGV’s on the road will take vision and leadership. The administration can use the CAFE rulemaking to show that leadership, by creating a level playing field for alternative fuel vehicles including natural gas vehicles,” said Dave McCurdy, president and CEO of the American Gas Association.
“Leading U.S. companies and local and state leaders across the country are enthusiastically expanding natural gas fueling infrastructure, vehicle choices and fleets,” said Regina Hopper, ANGA’s president and CEO. “A level playing field is essential to continuing this progress and ensuring U.S. policies embrace all options that put clean, affordable domestic energy to work improving our economy, security and air quality.”
"When President Obama unveiled his Energy Blueprint on January 26th, he made it clear that it was his administration's policy for the federal government to encourage the expanded use of natural gas vehicles," said Richard Kolodziej, president of NGVAmerica. "We have a huge natural gas resource base right here in America, and it makes sense to use that domestic gas to displace the use of foreign oil in vehicles. EPA and NHTSA have a golden opportunity to do just that in this rulemaking. Natural gas vehicles should be provided the same regulatory treatment as other transformational technologies -- such as electric vehicles."
As the president said last month: “Think about an America where more cars and trucks are running on domestic natural gas than on foreign oil.” These proposals will move the country in that direction.”