Trade Group Chimes In On Federal Natural Gas Incentives

Representatives from the Truck Renting and Leasing Association (TRALA) recently provided testimony to congressional lawmakers supporting an extension of tax credits designed to promote the greater use of natural gas as a transportation fuel.

The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means' Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures had solicited stakeholder feedback about certain incentives that expired at the end of 2011 or are set to expire at the end of this year. TRALA president and CEO Tom James and vice president of government relations Jake Jacoby submitted comments on behalf of the association.

Key among the incentives that have expired is the $0.50/gallon (or gasoline-gallon equivalent) credit for compressed natural gas and liquefied natural gas that is used as a vehicle fuel. Credits for natural gas fueling infrastructure also expired at the end of 2011, and incentives tied to the purchase of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) reached their sunset on Dec. 31, 2010.

In its testimony, the group voiced support for an extension of the incentives based on familiar talking points, such as the environmental benefits of using natural gas instead of diesel or gasoline, and the potential for a strengthening of the domestic natural gas production and NGV industries.

However, TRALA also made it clear that the use of natural gas in trucking fleets has a profound economic upside for the trucking industry, as well as the average American consumer.

‘No other trucking fuel offers the potential to lower fuel costs for TRALA member companies and other businesses that rely on truck transport,’ the testimony states. ‘Over 80% of all goods are moved by commercial trucks, so rising gasoline and diesel costs increase the cost of virtually all goods.’

It is uncertain if or when the incentives will be considered in Congress as a part of tax extenders legislation.

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