AGA Welcomes Legislation Promoting Natural Gas Transportation
Washington, D.C. – The American Gas Association (AGA) is leading a dialogue about new approaches for greater use of natural gas throughout our economy including the savings and environmental benefits achievable through continued adoption of natural gas as a transportation fuel.
AGA welcomed legislation proposed by U.S. Representatives Lee Terry (R-NE) and Sam Graves (R-MO) to improve the ability of long haul truck drivers to access and utilize natural gas as a fuel. The three bills would direct the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to designate natural gas fueling corridors for long haul truck traffic, allow an exemption from the current truck weight limit solely for the purpose of the weight of the natural gas tank and establish a task force including multiple government agencies and private sector partners to identify opportunities to transition from diesel fuel to natural gas.
“Natural gas vehicles offer significant savings, produce lower tailpipe emissions and help us reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Dave McCurdy, President and CEO of the American Gas Association. “Our nation’s abundance of clean natural gas can provide new growth prospects for all sectors of the U.S. economy, but this will require new thinking and visionary policies. We are seeing widespread adoption of natural gas transportation driven almost exclusively by the economic benefits that can be achieved. Government can increase access to these benefits by leveling the playing field and updating our policies to reflect the market reality supported by our abundance of clean natural gas.”
The current weight restrictions for heavy-duty trucks require natural gas truck operators to reduce their payload to compensate for heavy natural gas tanks—resulting in lost earnings. Updating the weight allowance for heavy-duty trucks would mean operators would not need to make that tradeoff.
Compressed natural gas costs about 50 percent less than gasoline and about 60 percent less than diesel. A recent study released by IHS CERA and the American Gas Foundation found that a natural gas vehicle will save a customer an average of $4,500 in fuel costs over five years compared to a gasoline vehicle.
In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama urged Congress to create jobs by “building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.” The President also highlighted his efforts to set higher fuel efficiency standards for automobiles saying, “In the coming months I'll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump.” Last year, the United States imported 1.5 billion barrels of oil from dangerous, unstable nations.
Natural gas utilities have contributed to a 60 percent growth in our national CNG refueling infrastructure since 2009 alongside significant commitments from the private sector and the government to transition fleets to natural gas.
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The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 71 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 94 percent — over 68 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets almost one-fourth of the United States' energy needs.