U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, introduced S. 1355, a bill that will help incentivize the production of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) without taxpayer subsidies. Original cosponsors of the bill include U.S. Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Robert Casey (R-Pa.).
"With natural gas becoming a booming industry in Oklahoma and across the United States, I have introduced legislation that would help bring NGVs on the market more quickly as a competitive, cost-efficient mode of transportation," said Inhofe. "My bill would ensure NGVs are given equal treatment with electric vehicles. With its strong bipartisan support, I hope my fellow Senate leaders will see the importance of quickly passing this legislation to help encourage American job creation and energy independence."
The Department of Transportation currently requires automakers to meet a mile-per-gallon efficiency standard for their entire car and truck fleet, known as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard. Automakers receive bonus credits toward their CAFE obligations for producing alternative fuel vehicles, but these credits are generally subject to a cap. S. 1355 encourages the production of more dual-fuel NGVs by removing the cap that would otherwise apply to these vehicles.
The bill also allows dedicated alternative fuel vehicles, including NGVs, to have small auxiliary gasoline tanks for emergency and incidental use. This will encourage broader adoption of alternative fuel vehicles because small reserve gasoline tanks will mitigate the risk of running out of fuel while out of range of an alternative-fuel filling station.
Why are automakers complaining about CAFE standards when the fuel crisis is decimating their sales?