Washington, D.C. – Tuesday, U.S. Senators Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced bipartisan legislation that would create a more level playing field for American companies transporting freight in natural gas-powered vehicles across the country. The Natural Gas Long Haul Truck Competitiveness Act of 2014 (S. 2721) would establish a uniform federal standard for all natural gas-powered vehicles carrying freight across the country, eliminating a significant barrier that currently exists for many businesses that rely on natural gas powered vehicles.
Donnelly said, “Supporting natural gas-powered vehicles is a part of the all-in approach to American energy that we need. 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.”
Gary Langston, President of Indiana Motor Truck Association, said, “The Indiana Motor Truck Association appreciates the bi-partisan efforts of Senators Donnelly and Inhofe on this important issue. The proposed additional weight allowance will encourage increased use of clean burning natural gas within the trucking industry, will protect the integrity of our payloads, and will continue to address Americas need for reduced dependence on foreign oil. ”
Dave Crompton, President of Cummins’ Engine Business, said, “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. 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.”
Frank Macchiarola, Executive Vice President for Government Affairs of America’s Natural Gas Alliance, said, “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. 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.”
Bill Graves, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Trucking Associations, said, “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. 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.”
The Donnelly-Inhofe bill would create a uniform federal standard, improving upon the current patchwork system where states have different carrying standards and guidelines. Vehicles with natural gas tanks and fueling systems are typically 2,000 pounds heavier than their diesel counterparts, which forces natural gas-powered vehicles to carry equally lighter loads of freight to comply with current federal standards. States currently have different standards and requirements, so it is possible for companies in states like Indiana to do intrastate business, but it can be extremely difficult to conduct interstate commerce. As a result, there’s a disincentive for businesses to operate trucks powered by natural gas. The Donnelly-Inhofe bill seeks to remove barriers for business and incentivize greater adoption of natural gas an as alternative fuel source.