Western Governors urge Congress to incentivize natural gas vehicles, infrastructure

February 11, 2010

Contact: Alex Schroeder, 303-623-9378

DENVER -- The Western Governors' Association today called on Congress to provide incentives this year for the use and development of natural gas vehicles and NGV infrastructure, which would create jobs, improve the economy, protect the environment and reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil.

WGA's chairman and vice chairman, Gov. Brian Schweitzer (Mont.) and C.L. "Butch" Otter (Idaho) in a letter today to House and Senate leaders expressed WGA's support for legislation to be considered by Congress.

"One of the greatest contributions from an increased penetration of NGVs in America's transportation system undoubtedly would be a growth in high quality and stable domestic jobs," the letter stated. "Industry projections estimate that implementing long-term tax incentives to promote the increased production of light- and heavy-duty NGVs and NGV stations could create more than half-a-million domestic jobs. These sustainable, high-quality jobs should be strongly incentivized and promoted."

WGA brought together more than 100 diverse stakeholders in 2008 to consider and recommend priority actions that would help diversify fueling options and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The resulting Transportation Fuels for the Future roadmap they developed noted the far reaching environmental and economic benefits of NGVs and their expanding support industries. Over the past 18 months, WGA's governor-appointed Transportation Fuels Council has been working to implement the report's recommendations and coordinate state efforts at the regional level.

In their letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the governors said legislation directed at incentivizing the use and development of NGVs and NGV infrastructure should, at a minimum:

· extend for 18 years the existing tax credits for the use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel, the purchase of NGVs, and the installation of NGV infrastructure in order to leverage private investment dollars;

· modify and expand the property tax credits for alternative fuel vehicles and refueling infrastructure to provide greater incentives for consumers and fleets to buy dedicated and bi-fuel NGVs;

· create new tax credits for vehicle manufacturers to incentivize the development of dedicated and bi-fuel NGVs; and

· make vehicle and infrastructure tax credits transferable, as is the case with tax credits available to other alternative energy resources.

"In addition to providing critical support for job growth in America, further development of NGVs and NGV infrastructure will help reduce our national trade deficit and dependence on oil from unstable and unfriendly regimes," the governors said. "Like members of Congress, we are concerned about how the staggering trade deficits impact America's economic growth and prosperity, and a large portion of our nation's trade deficit is attributable directly to the importation of oil.

"Every day the United States spends billions of dollars overseas in the form of oil payments that could be spent here, in America, employing our citizens and boosting the health of our economy. America's continued dependence on foreign oil represents a clear threat to our economic health and security."

The governors noted that the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel is a domestic solution to a variety of critical issues. Ninety-eight percent of the natural gas, which they said is a cleaner and more affordable fuel, is consumed in the U.S. and produced in North America.

"Natural gas produces approximately 25 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and significantly fewer criteria air pollutants, and fueling NGVs costs a third less than traditional gasoline," the letter stated. "Incentivizing the further build-out of NGV technologies will stop billions of dollars in overseas oil payments, create thousands of jobs, reduce harmful greenhouse gas and criteria air pollutant emissions, and improve the overall health of the United States' economy."

A copy of the letter and WGA's Transportation Fuels for the Future report are available on the WGA Web site at www.westgov.org.