Friday, October 30, 2009

What's Up Next? NAT Gas Bill?

NAT (New Alternative Transportation) Act bills have been introduced into both the House and the Senate which would promote the manufacture, fueling and use of vehicles fueled by natural gas. Both bills are currently in committee and have not yet reached either floor for debate and passage. So far, only Reid has signed on as a co-sponsor, no other NV elected official has signed on to either bill as a co-sponsor ... so ... it's time to write to Ensign, Heller, Berkeley, and Titus.

I support the need to migrate to Natural Gas and away from foreign oil imports. If you think about it, we import way too much foreign oil. It truly represents a national security risk that we, as a nation, need to remedy ... NOW! During September alone, we spent $573,000 a minute on oil imports. If we want health care reform, spending that much on imported crude simply has to stop!

While I support a number of provisions in either bill that would provide excise taxes and incentives that promote fuel availability and delivery infrastructure requirements, I have a problem with the grants. If we truly are a capitalist nation, I find it curious why we have to essentially bribe the auto industry with "grants" (just another name for bailout money) to get them to manufacture engines and vehicles fueled by natural gas. Don't they already have that engine? It seems to me that they just couldn't get most folks (other than local-only businesses and city buses) to buy natural gas vehicles. That was because there just wasn't an infrastructure out there from which to refuel other than their own facility. So, the auto industry pretty much shelved that idea a few years back other than for that "local-only" niche market. Now, they'll take the grant money, pull it off the shelf and re-introduce what they've already designed and previously introduced ... but which didn't catch on because there was no infrastructure from which people could refuel.



Summary of H.R. 1835:
New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act of 2009 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) allow an excise tax credit through 2027 for alternative fuels and fuel mixtures involving compressed or liquefied natural gas; (2) allow an income tax credit through 2027 for alternative fuel motor vehicles powered by compressed or liquefied natural gas; (3) modify the tax credit percentage for alternative fuel vehicles fueled by natural gas or liquefied natural gas; (4) allow a new tax credit for the production of vehicles fueled by natural gas or liquefied natural gas; and (5) extend through 2027 the tax credit for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property expenditures for refueling property relating to compressed or liquefied natural gas and allow an increased credit for such property. Requires 50% of all new vehicles purchased or placed in service by the U.S. government by December 31, 2014, to be capable of operating on compressed or liquefied natural gas. Authorizes the Secretary of Energy to make grants to manufacturers of light and heavy duty natural gas vehicles for the development of engines that reduce emissions, improve performance and efficiency, and lower cost.



Summary of S. 1408:
New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow: (1) an excise tax credit through 2019 for alternative fuels and fuel mixtures involving compressed or liquefied natural gas; (2) a modified income tax credit through 2019 for alternative fuel motor vehicles powered by compressed or liquefied natural gas; (3) an offset against the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for tax credits for alternative fuel motor vehicles and refueling property and provide for the transferability of such credits; (4) a tax credit through 2019 for investment in natural gas vehicle project bonds; (5) expensing of property used to manufacture vehicles fueled by compressed or liquefied natural gas; and (6) a tax credit through 2019 for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property relating to compressed or liquefied natural gas. Requires federal agencies to purchase dedicated alternative fuel vehicles for their fleets unless such agencies can show that alternative fuel is unavailable or purchasing such vehicles would be impractical. Authorizes the Secretary of Energy to make grants to manufacturers of light and heavy duty natural gas vehicles for the development of engines that reduce emissions, improve performance and efficiency, and lower cost. Expresses the sense of the Senate that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should streamline the certification process for natural gas vehicle retrofit kits.


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