Big State Support for Natural Gas, Propane and Other Alt-Fuel Vehicles

The State of Pennsylvania continued to show significant support for natural gas vehicles (NGVs), with the announcement that $6.7 million would be funneled toward incentives for heavy-duty NGVs.

Also, Gov. Tom Corbett announced new funding of $10 million for the state's Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant (AFIG) program, designed to help fleets purchase new alt-fuel vehicles or convert existing fleet assets.

The $6.7 million that was mobilized this week is a part of the state's $20 million Natural Gas Energy Development program, which provides incentives for compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) or bi-fuel vehicles that exceed 14,000 lbs. GVW. Awardees include companies such as Crossett Inc., which received $500,000 to convert 25 tractors to run on CNG, and Birkmire Trailer Co., which is also using $500,000 to convert 15 trucks to dual-fuel CNG/diesel technology and to buy six new CNG trucks.

Approximately $5 million of this funding round was reserved for heavy-duty NGVs that will be deployed among local Pennsylvania transportation agencies. For instance, Erie Metropolitan Transport Authority is purchasing 12 CNG buses with $300,000 in grant funding, and the Borough of Chambersburg was awarded $472,500 to purchase and/or retrofit 19 NGVs.

The governor said that a second round of funds – totaling $11 million – under the Natural Gas Energy Development program will be disbursed late this summer, and the third round will open for applications next year. The grants cover 50% of the incremental cost of NGVs, capped at $25,000 per vehicle.

The $10 million from the state's AFIG program is aimed squarely at the light- and medium-duty NGV space (less than 14,000 lbs. GVW), as well as electric and propane vehicles in any weight class.

Alternative fuel vehicles eligible for the rebates must be new vehicles. Rebates vary, from $1,000 for an NGV or propane vehicle to $3,000 for a plug-in hybrid electric vehicles with a system capacity equal to or exceeding 10 kWh.

Applications for the AFIG program will be accepted beginning on May 25.
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More information can be found HERE.

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