The federal government should use its purchasing power to buy natural-gas-powered medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses for federal fleets. Congress should also establish incentives for the private purchase of medium- and heavy-duty trucks, buses, and fleet vehicles powered by natural gas. This should include incentives to develop the infrastructure to fuel these vehicles. Such provisions are in the NAT GAS Act, S. 1408, sponsored by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Harry Reid (D-NV), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Its House companion is H.R. 1835, sponsored by Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK), John Larson (D-CT), John Sullivan (R-OK), and 141 additional representatives.
Analysis by Center for American Progress found that “deployment of 3.5 million of these natural gas vehicles by 2035 would save at least 1.2 million barrels of oil per day compared to business as usual, which is more oil than we imported from Venezuela last year.” Natural gas can be a bridge fuel to clean fuels of the future, but additional safeguards for shale gas drilling are essential to ensure that increases in gas production do not create environmental hazards. The American Power Act includes CAP’s proposal to require natural gas producers to publicly report on the toxic chemicals in their drilling muds.
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