Renewed interest in natural gas as fuel prices soar

| 4/12/2011

When fuel prices soared to above $5 per gallon three years ago, Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens unveiled his plan aimed at curbing the country’s dependence on foreign oil by switching to liquefied natural gas as an alternative fuel source.

Later, when fuel prices dropped, so did momentum for the Pickens Plan as a domestic fuel source to power the transportation industry. 

However, as fuel prices again soar above $4 per gallon, there is a renewed effort to support the use of natural gas. On Wednesday, April 13, Pickens and U.S. lawmakers plan to attend an event in Washington, DC, to educate the public about the importance of natural gas-powered vehicles, including heavy trucks, sponsored by the Natural Gas Vehicles for America organization.

A bill designed to wean the U.S. from its dependence on foreign oil – HR1380 – was introduced in the U.S. House on April 6. The bill, which promotes the purchase and production of natural gas-powered vehicles, has gained bipartisan support and 133 cosponsors. The bill also includes incentives for natural gas fueling pumps.

The bill, the “New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions – NAT GAS Act – was introduced by Reps. John Sullivan, R-OK; Dan Boren, D-OK; John Larson, D-CT, and Kevin Brady, R-TX.

HR1380 has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee; the Science, Space and Technology Committee; and the Energy and Commerce Committee.

While LNG could be an alternative for mainly fleet vehicles, the infrastructure plan needs to be expanded before it’s an option for small-business truckers.

“This bill will be the legislative vehicle to replace millions of barrels of imported oil with domestic natural gas, especially for fleet vehicles,” according to the Pickens Plan.