A bill introduced by Pennsylvania State Sen. Wayne Langerholc, R-35, to promote the use of cleaner-burning natural gas in larger vehicles was unanimously approved by the State Senate last week.
Langerholc’s S.B.589 increases the maximum allowable weight for motor carrier vehicles that are powered by natural gas from 80,000 pounds to 82,000 pounds to accommodate the heavier equipment needed for natural gas-burning vehicles.
“This legislation is a win-win for Pennsylvania,” Langerholc says. “It both encourages the use of natural gas to power our larger trucks and updates our laws to ensure that federal transportation funds continue to flow to our commonwealth, which is the hub of interstate commerce for the entire East Coast.”
When the U.S. Congress passed the FAST Act in 2015, it included a provision that permitted states to increase their allowable weights for natural gas-powered vehicles not only to promote the use of this cleaner-burning fuel, but also for practical reasons. Vehicles powered by natural gas weigh more than gasoline- or diesel-powered trucks because of natural gas’ heavier fuel tanks and related equipment.
A dozen states have already enacted laws to carry out this provision, with dozens more pending, Langerholc says.
“Pennsylvania’s roads and bridges are vital to the movement of goods and services to and from New York City; Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia; and other major metropolitan centers,” Langerholc explains. “This bill helps our Keystone State to remain a key link in our transportation network and to remain competitive and eco-friendly in our 21st-century economy.”
S.B.589 now goes to the House for its consideration.