NGVAmerica says the announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reopen the Midterm Review regarding fuel-efficiency standards for light-duty vehicles could create new interest in and opportunities for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the light-duty sector.
“NGVAmerica welcomes the news that EPA has publicly recognized what has long been a major source of frustration for our industry, namely that for too long the incentive structure and regulatory rules have selectively benefited a single alternative fuel technology at the expense of other super clean and efficient options like natural gas,” said NGVAmerica President Dan Gage. “We are hopeful that by reopening a comprehensive, data-driven review of light-duty fuel-efficiency and emission standards, parity, consistency, and clarity for natural gas technology in light-duty transportation will result.”
In its final determination posted on April 2, the EPA specifically references comments by NGVAmerica that the current regulatory framework does not provide credits for renewable natural gas (RNG) now being used by many NGVs and continues to impose driving range requirements for NGVs that are not required for other vehicle technologies, creating a very real and unfair impediment for consumers to transition to natural gas.
“This decision by EPA effectively confirms our long-held position that the existing Obama-era rules currently in place do not fully account for all the environmental benefits of natural gas vehicles or provide sufficient incentive for manufacturers to produce natural gas vehicles,” added Gage. “With the right type of incentives and a chance to compete with other fuels on a level playing field, NGVs can succeed in the light-duty market.”
It is important to note that more than half of annual light-duty vehicle sales include sport utility vehicles (SUVs), work vans, and pickup trucks, a market segment that is well served by natural gas powertrains due to their power, performance, and range benefits.
NGVAmerica says it welcomes the opportunity to contribute to this future rulemaking and to work with EPA to develop incentives that expand the production and use of cleaner-burning, domestically-fueled natural gas vehicles.