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 fuel from catching on and establishing corridors for nationwide truck lanes.
Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) with cosponsor Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.) submitted three bills this week, all of which have been referred to the House’s Transportation and Infrastructure committee.
The first (H.R. 3937) would create a natural gas task force made up of the Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, the EPA, some members of congress, state government representatives and representatives from the private sector, whose job it would be to find barriers preventing the trucking industry from transitioning to natural gas. The task force also would try to determine what a trucking industry conversion to the fuel would do to the Highway Trust Fund.
Per the bill, the task force would be responsible for producing a report with its findings within 120 days.
The second bill (H.R. 3938) would direct the Transportation Secretary to determine natural gas fueling corridors for long haul truck traffic.
The third (H.R. 3940) would allow trucks using natural gas a weight exemption to compensate for the heavier fuel tank, so natural gas-powered operators wouldn’t be at a competitive 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. It also has the ability to substantially reduce emissions. Utilizing natural gas in the long haul trucking industry just makes sense.”
President Barack Obama also mentioned bolstering natural gas use in the U.S. in his state of the Union address Tuesday, calling on Congress to act.
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.