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July 31, 2014

Inhofe, Donnelly Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Level Playing Field for Natural Gas Long Haul Trucks

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) today introduced the Natural Gas Long Haul Truck Competitiveness Act of 2014 (S. 2721), a bill that would level the playing field between diesel and natural gas long-haul trucks by allowing them to carry the same amount of freight. Due to natural gas fueling systems weighing roughly 2,000 pounds more than diesel systems, trucks running on natural gas are forced to carry less freight under current federal weight restrictions.  

“Natural gas is a clean and affordable domestic energy resource that has the potential to drive American energy independence to reality,” said Inhofe. “The additional weight of natural gas fueling systems eats into the total the trucks are allowed to weigh with freight under current federal regulation, leaving it at a disadvantage to its diesel counterpart.  This legislation brings the federal regulation for long-haul trucks into the 21st century by giving natural gas powered trucks the ability to compete on the same playing field in the amount of freight it can transport. I am proud to work with Sen. Joe Donnelly on this bipartisan bill that recognizes the vast potential of natural gas for powering the next generation of vehicles."

“Supporting natural gas-powered vehicles is a part of the all-in approach to American energy that we need,” said Donnelly. "While the standards in this bill are currently in place in Indiana, we need to expand them across the country so more companies are encouraged to make the investment in natural gas-powered vehicles. I am pleased to join my colleague, Senator Inhofe, in introducing this bipartisan legislation that would encourage businesses to use natural gas when transporting their freight and products.”

"NGVAmerica applauds Sens. Jim Inhofe and Joe Donnelly for their legislation to allow natural gas trucks to exceed federal weight limitations when operating on the Interstate Highway Systems,” said Rich Kolodziej, president of NGVAmerica. “Despite the many positive attributes of natural gas trucks including competitive fuel costs and environmental benefits, there is still a constraint to owning and operating a natural gas vehicle because of the Federal rules on highway truck weights. The extra weight of natural gas tanks, both CNG and LNG and associated equipment (pumps, hoses etc.), means that a natural gas truck cannot carry the same amount of freight as a diesel truck given the weight limits on Federal highways. This causes a revenue loss of up to 2 to 3 percent due to reduced payload. Legislation such as this will help accelerate the growth of the NGV market and provide our country with the environmental benefits and greater energy independence that comes with using clean domestic natural gas as a vehicle fuel.”

“We applaud the bipartisan efforts of Sens. Inhofe and Donnelly to encourage the adoption of natural gas fueled trucks. When considering the many benefits of natural gas, using more of it to power vehicles is the smart business choice,” said Frank Macchiarola, executive vice president of Government Affairs at America’s Natural Gas Alliance. "We commend both Senators for eliminating policies that discourage the adoption of cleaner burning fuels like natural gas and we look forward to working with them on this common-sense measure.”

"Natural gas holds great promise for our industry and our economy, and as such, we applaud the efforts of Sen. Inhofe and Sen. Donnelly to look for solutions to the challenge of realizing this promise,” said Bill Graves, president and chief executive officer of American Trucking Associations. "While there are still many details and specifications to address on this complex issue, we look forward to working with them on this important energy and transportation matter.”

“Updating the weight allowance for heavy-duty trucks offers a common sense solution to helping natural gas vehicles compete fairly in the market at no additional cost to the U.S. Treasury,” said Dr. Kathryn Clay, vice president of Policy Strategy at the American Gas Association. "By ensuring that drivers do not need to choose between operating with full payloads or using clean, domestic natural gas, this forward-thinking legislation removes an unfair barrier to natural gas vehicles, and will help drivers save money on fuel costs, lower tailpipe emissions and reduce dependence on oil from unstable nations."

"We thank the Senators for introducing this legislation which eliminates a disincentive impeding the adoption of natural gas vehicles in the heavy duty truck industry,” said Dave Crompton, president of Cummins' Engine Business. "We continue to look for different ways to help our customers be as successful as possible and natural gas provides an additional cost-effective alternative for some of them."



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