A Natural Gas Superhighway? Maybe So

Last week, Legislative Assembly of Ontario Member Robert Bailey introduced into the provincial parliament the Natural Gas Superhighway Act, which would enact measures designed to support the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel in the province.

Central to Bailey's legislation – Bill 97 – is a tax-credit program whereby fleets can access incentives toward purchasing vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). The credit would be equal to half of the harmonized sales tax paid on the purchase of a natural gas vehicle (NGV), which would equate to roughly 6.5% of the purchase price.

The bill contends that because of the cost savings often associated with fleet conversions to natural gas, Ontario stands to be at a disadvantage should its lawmakers not keep pace with peers.

‘The Province of Quebec has taken an early lead by offering fiscal incentives to encourage fleets to purchase natural gas vehicles,’ the legislation reads. ‘If Ontario does not take steps soon to open its borders to the same type of investment, it risks being left behind, and our businesses will lose their ability to get their products to market at competitive prices.’

The legislation also seeks to implement the flexibility to set special weight limits for over-the-road heavy-duty trucks that use LNG. These weight limits would take into account NGVs' heavier on-board fuel storage equipment and natural gas engines, ensuring that such trucks could legally operate on Ontario highways.

No monetary cap on the program is outlined in the legislation, and it also does not limit the number of NGVs to which a fleet can apply the tax credits.

According to coverage in the Sarnia Observer, Bailey's bill is set for a second reading in parliament on Sept. 26.

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