First, the Florida Natural Gas Vehicle Act (H.B.579) contains a provision that would institute a five-year tax-free holiday on compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) used as a transportation fuel. After that five-year period, natural gas will be taxed at $0.21/gallon (compared to $0.31 for diesel).
Other measures, such as excise-tax exemptions for certain uses of natural gas and exemptions designed to spur the development of more refueling infrastructure, are also included in the legislation.
The bill also seeks to funnel $60 million over five years into a new Natural Gas Fuel Vehicle Investment Program that would be funded by the State Comprehensive Enhanced Transportation System tax, which is already on the books. This program would provide rebates for NGV purchases or conversions.
The measure cruised through the state legislature, with a 39-0 affirmative vote from the Senate on April 30 and a 116-2 vote in the House on May 2.
‘This legislation will pave the way for the increased use of natural gas, spurring economic growth, reducing our dependency on foreign oil and providing a cleaner-burning source of fuel,’ said Sen. Wilton Simpson, who helped lead the charge for the legislation in his chamber.
The next stop for the bill is Gov. Rick Scott's desk. Eric Criss, chairman of the Florida Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, is cautiously optimistic about the bill garnering his signature.
‘We are not taking anything for granted,’ he told NGT News. ‘He is all about jobs, and this is a job-creator.’