Federal Legislation Seeks to Eliminate Natural Gas Vehicle Disadvantage

U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., have introduced the Natural Gas Long Haul Truck Competitiveness Act of 2014 (S.B.2721), which would allow trucks that are powered by natural gas to legally exceed federal highway weight-limit rules.

According to bill analysis from NGVAmerica, S.B.2721 aims to account for the additional weight associated with vehicles' compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel systems. The extra weight of high-pressure or insulated natural gas fuel tanks and associated equipment, which can amount to approximately 2,000 lbs. or more, means a CNG or LNG truck cannot carry the same amount of freight as a diesel truck. This causes a revenue loss of up to 3% percent due to reduced payload.

The bill would allow CNG- or LNG-powered trucks to exceed Interstate Highway System weight limits by the difference between the additional weight of the natural gas fuel system in use and the weight of a comparable diesel tank fueling system.

‘Updating the weight allowance for heavy-duty trucks offers a common-sense solution to helping natural gas vehicles compete fairly in the market at no additional cost to the U.S. treasury,’ says Kathryn Clay, the American Gas Association's vice president of policy strategy.

‘By ensuring that drivers do not need to choose between operating with full payloads or using clean, domestic natural gas, this forward-thinking legislation removes an unfair barrier to natural gas vehicles and will help drivers save money on fuel costs, lower tailpipe emissions and reduce dependence on oil from unstable nations,’ she adds.

‘NGVAmerica thanks Sens. Jim Inhofe and Joe Donnelly for their work on this important issue,’ says Rich Kolodziej, president of NGVAmerica. ‘Legislation such as this will help accelerate the growth of the NGV market.’

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