Senate Committee Holds Hearing on NGVs

On Tuesday, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee held a hearing on the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. Witnesses included Dave McCurdy, President and CEO, American Gas Association; Dr. Michael Gallagher, Senior Adviser, Westport Innovations; Reg Modlin, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Chrysler Group; Dr. David Greene, Corporate Fellow, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; and Paul Cicio, President, Industrial Energy Consumers of America (IECA). NGVAmerica submitted written testimony for the hearing. Those comments are available on our website. If you wish to view the entire hearing, click here.

 McCurdy, Gallagher, and Modlin spoke in support of NGVs and federal incentives to encourage more rapid growth. Modlin, for example, told the Committee that federal policies are skewed toward electric vehicles that are eligible for incentives that create an unlevel playing field for potential retail CNG vehicles. Modlin then told the Committee that Chrysler supports technology-neutral policies and that providing equivalent incentives for natural gas-powered vehicles would create parity. Cicio said that his organization wasn’t opposed to NGVs but was opposed to federal incentives. Sen. John Barasso (R-WY) asked if IECA was opposed to all vehicle incentives to which he replied that “he would have to check.”

The most negative of the testimonies was David Greene. In his written testimony as well as his answers to questions from the Committee members, he cast doubt on the long-term emissions benefits of NGVs and said that he opposed the large-scale deployment of NGVs and refueling infrastructure. These anti-NGV statements stand in stark contrast to DOE’s stated support for the emissions reduction benefits of NGVs and for the long-term deployment of NGV technologies. Greene has subsequently stated that these were his opinions only and did not reflected DOE’s positions.