Senate bill aims to promote natural gas adoption in long-haul trucking

| August 13, 2014

cng pumpThe Senate this week introduced its version of a bill to cut natural gas-powered trucks a break, as it would give them an exemption to federal truck weight standards as a means to mitigate the weight of nat gas tanks and to prevent natural gas adopters from being at a competitive disadvantage.

The bill (S.2721), introduced by Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), was referred to the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee and is the chamber’s companion bill to the House’s H.R. 3940, introduced in January.

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Trio of House bills aimed at increasing use of natural gas in long-haul trucking

Two members of the House have introduced pieces of legislation to increase natural gas use in long-haul trucking by finding and eliminating barriers preventing the ...

Dubbed the Natural Gas Long Haul Truck Competitiveness Act, the Senate bill, like the House’s, would give trucks running natural gas to exceed weight limits by the difference of “the weight of the vehicle attributable to the natural gas tank and fueling system” and “the weight of a comparable diesel tank and fueling system,” according to the bill.

Unlike the House’s version, however, this bill comes to the Senate by itself, whereas the House’s weight exemption bill was part of a trio of nat gas bills aimed at promoting use in trucking through public policy.

The House’s other two bills would (1) establish a taskforce to identify barriers of natural gas adoption in trucking and (2) direct the Department of Transportation to designate or prioritize certain cross-country as “natural gas corridors.”

“Natural gas is a clean and affordable domestic energy resource that has the potential to drive American energy independence to reality,” Inhofe said. “The additional weight of natural gas fueling systems eats into the total the trucks are allowed to weigh under current federal regulation, leaving it at a disadvantage to its diesel counterpart. This legislation brings the federal regulation for long-haul trucks into the 21st century by giving natural gas powered trucks the ability to compete on the same playing field in the amount of freight it can transport.”

Govtrack.us gives the bill a 2 percent chance of being enacted.

The House’s version, however, has an 8 percent chance of being enacted, Govtrack says.

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  • jim stewart

    Glad to hear they will push harder for this. I won’t own one of these natural gas bombs myself but maybe my diesel prices will drop with less future demand.

  • YukonMark

    Am I missing something here? Are they saying that if we follow their (govt’s) way of trying to go “greener” our vehicles can be legally heavier than before and still operate on the highways? Will they need permits for heavier trucks, like oversized vehicles?

  • Barton van Buskirk

    tyson transportation are trying gas trucks out this year soo far they take long time to fuel them only down side soo far

  • Chris Milburn

    I testified in front of the House Energy subcommittee in March of 2012 and they were pushing Natural Gas as an alternative then. The biggest problem I saw then and I see now is the infrastructure to accommodate the fueling needs for these trucks. While it has been said that natural gas is a cheaper alternative to diesel the laws of supply and demand will, if adopted , will cause natural gas prices to rise as demand increases and diesel to drop. At some point in time they will flip flop in cost. Let’s n it forget the added cost to produce these natural gas burning class 8 trucks it to retrofit them and get them on the road. Another question is how will these trucks perform in pulling power versus diesel engines with a fully loaded trailer. Will they still have the same horsepower and torque necessary to do the the job?

  • Blackaton

    If my memory serves me correctly there used to be a company out of Hayden Lake ID that used to run CNG trucks 15 or so years ago

  • fred hall

    Watch as the. Change takes over watch the spike because everbody knw’s the gov is on this to make money

  • Unfortunately

    The short and sweet answer is yes. I work for a company that is going all CNG as we speak we have 6 2014 Pete 384s and getting 8 2015 Kenworth T-660s in 2 months. They all have or are going to have 12L engines in them rated for 400hp with a 10 spd manual. They pull ok my best comparison is it pulls about the same as a DD13.

  • Deez Nuts

    I’m all for anything that pushes diesel prices down but you better not break down driving one. T/A and Petro have already banned them from their shops, refuse to work on them.

  • suzi

    I takes about 45 minutes to load 30,000. gallons of NG so if the truckers know what they are doing it should not take but 12 minutes. NG is high pressure gas and so it’s pushes the gas in faster then diesel. I know I hauled over 15,000.000 gallons of NG.

  • Barton van Buskirk

    to and from and twice a day its a little to much i think vehicle tanks are alot smaller soo is the fill rate

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