In response to the agencies’ proposed rules for new fuel economy and greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions standards, natural gas vehicle (NGV) groups are calling upon the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to use the rulemaking opportunity to expand incentives for NGVs in the light-duty sector.
Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica), the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition), the American Gas Association (AGA) and the American Public Gas Association (APGA) have submitted comments to the NHTSA and EPA in response to their “Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule for Model Years 2021-2026 Passenger Cars and Light Trucks,” proposed earlier this year with backlash from groups including CALSTART and the Sierra Club, as well as lawmakers including California Gov. Jerry Brown.
In their submission, NGVAmerica, the RNG Coalition, AGA and APGA called upon NHTSA and the EPA to increase NGV incentives, particularly for pickup trucks, work vans and sport utility vehicles.
According to the groups, the proposed rulemaking, along with current market dynamics – growing demand for light trucks, a significant increase in the availability of domestic natural gas, and the expanded availability of renewable natural gas – provides the right circumstances for the light-duty NGV market to expand.
The groups argue that NGVs deserve an equal opportunity to compete in the market based on cost and real-world emission benefits. Thus, they support changes to the current regulatory framework to incorporate provisions that more fully account for the environmental benefits of NGVs, give meaning to statutory provisions intended to encourage NGVs and incorporate meaningful incentives for manufacturers to produce natural gas vehicles.
The groups’ recommendations include as follows:
- Align the fuel economy and greenhouse-gas credit provisions for NGVs;
- Extend the use of the 0.15 factor for dual-fuel vehicles;
- Amend the driving range and drive-to-empty requirement for dual-fuel NGVs;
- Provide stronger sales multiplier credits for the production of NGVs;
- Amend the full-sized pickup truck credits;
- Provide incentives for gaseous-prep vehicles; and
- Ensure the resulting rule supports one unified national program.