Proposal Protects Natural Gas, Propane Incentives; EVs, Hydrogen Get The Axe

Late last week, West Virginia State Senate president Jeffrey V. Kessler introduced a bill on behalf of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin that would limit state incentives for alternative fuel vehicles and refueling infrastructure to natural gas and propane autogas.

Existing statute provides incentives for a variety of technologies, such as electric vehicles, ethanol, methanol and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The new bill, S.B.185, seeks to eliminate those incentives. Regarding the existing program, the governor's office has gone on the record as saying ‘We didn't know what the financial impact would be. It will be significant, extremely substantial.’

The incentives for natural gas and propane are not completely protected in the new bill. The law went into effect at the beginning of 2011 and is scheduled to run through 2021. But Kessler's bill would phase out all of the incentives – for vehicles and refueling infrastructure alike – by 2017.

The proposed legislation does not decrease any of the funding levels, such as the $7,500 credit for light-duty alt-fuel vehicles or $25,000 for heavy-duty trucks.

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