WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, joined Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) today to introduce bi-partisan legislation that seeks to increase the production and sale of natural gas and propane vehicles and develop natural gas and propane vehicle infrastructure across the country. The bill would help reduce the burden of fuel costs for consumers, encourage the development of more environmentally-friendly sources of energy, reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, and strengthen the economy in regions rich in natural gas.
Senator Inhofe said, "As the nation's number two producer in natural gas production, Oklahomans have a strong appreciation for the versatility of natural gas that is domestic, plentiful, affordable, and clean. In fact, Oklahoma alone annually produces nearly one-tenth of total U.S. natural gas production. I am pleased, therefore to join with Senator Pryor in introducing legislation which encourages the use of natural gas and propane as a mainstream transportation fuel. Over the past couple of years, American consumers have been pinched by the economic pain of high gas prices. To address this challenge, we are joining together to introduce legislation that encourages the use of a proven alternative fuel and sends a market signal to manufacturers and consumers that natural gas and propane are a cost competitive alternative. The promise of natural gas and propane as a mainstream transportation fuel is achievable today -- not 15 or 20 years from now.
Sen. Pryor commented, "Natural gas vehicles are more fuel efficient and environmentally-friendly than their gasoline counterparts, but right now their high cost and lack of infrastructure, such as gas stations, make them an unrealistic option for the average American. The Fueling America Act will make it easier and more practical for people to buy natural gas vehicles."
Devon Energy's Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, Bill Whitsitt added, "Devon strongly supports broader and increased uses of natural gas, which is a clean, abundant and affordable North American energy source. Just as natural gas will be a foundation for our energy future with respect to electricity generation, certainly more use of it as a viable alternative in consumer and fleet vehicles makes sense as well. We support the initiative introduced by Sens. Inhofe and Pryor."
Tom Price, Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s senior vice president for corporate development and government relations, said, “We appreciate the leadership of Senators Jim Inhofe and Mark Pryor in introducing this important legislation that can help move our country toward reduced foreign energy reliance and a cleaner environment in the near future. This important legislation is introduced at a time when ground-breaking studies have confirmed an abundance of clean natural gas in America to fuel our vehicles, generate our electricity and run our industrial sector for more than 100 years. Again, we commend Senators Pryor and Inhofe for their leadership on this issue, and look forward to the day when significant numbers of natural gas vehicles are on the road reducing the cost of transportation fuel costs to consumers and helping improve air quality, the American economy and our national security.”
Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association Chairman, Mike McDonald, said, "Oklahoma exports more than 60 percent of the natural gas produced in our state. As a country seeking to wean ourselves from foreign oil, we should encourage the use of local, plentiful fuels like natural gas for transportation needs. This state's natural gas producers strongly support any initiative promoting the use of environmentally-friendly, economically-viable and domestically-produced natural gas. We appreciate the bipartisan leadership of Senators Inhofe and Pryor in promoting the infrastructure and technologies necessary to see America fully utilize its most abundant and clean-burning energy resource while creating good-paying jobs across the United States in the process."
The Fueling America Act of 2009 provides a consumer tax credit for the purchase of natural gas or propane vehicles as well as a tax credit for the installation of natural gas and propane refueling stations. In addition, the bill establishes a natural gas and propane vehicle research and development program within the Department of Energy, requires the General Services Administration to study increasing the federal fleet that runs on natural gas or propane, and extends the Clean School Bus Program through 2014.