North Dakota lawmakers have introduced a bill that will provide incentives to vehicles powered by natural gas and the required fueling stations, reports The Bismarck Tribune.
If passed, House Bill 1446 would set aside $1 million for sharing the costs of the construction of natural gas fueling stations and $3 million for helping to convert vehicles to utilize natural gas rather than diesel fuel or gasoline. Robert Moffitt of North Dakota Clean Cities Coalition, an organization that advocates the use of natural gas as a fuel source, said, “I think it’s a terrific step forward in North Dakota realizing its potential for natural gas vehicles.”
Other states such as Utah and Colorado currently have similar incentives and Moffitt says they are beginning to see the benefits. This time last year, Colorado had 83 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in its state fleet. Utah is aiming to convert half of its state fleet vehicles to run on CNG by the year 2018. Currently, Utah has CNG fueling stations in five of its cities and the transit authority plans to add 200 CNG-fueled buses to its public transportation system. In Minnesota, there are 10 public CNG fueling stations. Also, the Metro transit system in St. Cloud operates a fleet of CNG-fueled buses.
If approved, the program will fund up to $250,000 for each retail location, helping cover the costs of equipment and installation. The program will also award grants up to $7,500 for the purchase or conversion of non-commercial natural gas vehicles and up to $15,000 for commercial vehicles, which equals about half the cost.
The Tribune reports that the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Robin Weisz, said the reasoning behind the proposed bill is to encourage the development of infrastructure supporting the production of natural gas liquids that would otherwise be burned off, or flared, into the atmosphere. Although the cost benefits may not be as substantial while gasoline prices are below $2, the program should be in place by the time gasoline prices rise again.
To read the original report by The Bismarck Tribune, click here.