Two Midwestern congressmen have introduced legislation that would make it easier for long haul truckers to use natural gas as a fuel.
Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) recently introduced a trio of bills they say will make long haul trucking safer, more convenient and more cost effective.
The three bills would accomplish the following:
- Establish a task force among the Departments of Energy and Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), members of Congress, state government, and private sector representatives to evaluate barriers to transition from diesel fuel to natural gas, as well as the costs and benefits of using natural gas in trucks and what such a switch could mean for the Highway Trust Fund.
- Direct the Secretary of Transportation to designate natural gas fueling corridors for long haul truck traffic.
- Allow an exemption from the current truck weight limit solely for the purpose of the weight of the natural gas tank, so that trucks using the fuel are not at a disadvantage.
“America is rich in natural gas resources, as we’ve seen in recent years with the shale gas revolution,”said Rep. Graves, who chairs the Small Business Committee. “Natural gas is more cost-efficient than diesel, meaning consumers will feel the savings when shopping at WalMart and Hy-Vee. It also has the ability to substantially reduce emissions. Utilizing natural gas in the long haul trucking industry just makes sense. These bills, which I’m proud to introduce with my friend Lee Terry, provide the tools necessary to make sure companies looking to use natural gas are not at a disadvantage.”
Rep. Terry concurs. “I have been and will continue to be a strong advocate for diversifying our nation's energy supply,”said Rep. Terry. “On a recent trip to the Baaken, I witnessed first-hand our abundant supply of natural gas being flared because it’s cheaper to burn than it is to capture. With this plentiful resource, I’m convinced that we can and must expand natural gas use in transportation. Learning everything we can about barriers to natural gas use and removing those barriers should be common sense in our quest for an all-of-the-above energy strategy. I’m pleased to partner with my friend Sam Graves on these three pieces of legislation that will help further diversify our energy portfolio.”
In his State of the Union speech in late January, President Obama spoke in support of expanding the use of natural gas.
“Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The "all the above" energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today America is closer to energy independence than we have been in decades,” said President Obama. “One of the reasons why is natural gas. If extracted safely, it's the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Businesses plan to invest almost a hundred billion dollars in new factories that use natural gas. I'll cut red tape to help states get those factories built and put folks to work, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas.”
Here is a brief summary and status of the three bills introduced by Rep. Graves and Rep. Terry:
HR 3937 – Evaluating the transition to natural gas
This bill would create a task force among the Departments of Energy and Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency, members of Congress, state government, and private sector representatives to evaluate barriers to transition from diesel to natural gas. It would also look at the costs and benefits of using natural gas in trucks and the potential effects of such a change on the Highway Trust Fund.
The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
HR 3938 – Long-haul trucks
The second measure would direct the Secretary of Transportation to designate natural gas fueling corridors for long haul truck traffic. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
HR 3940 – Weight exemption
This third bill would allow an exemption from the current truck weight limit solely for the purpose of the weight of the natural gas tank, so that trucks using the fuel are not at a disadvantage. It has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.