Obama renews commitment to natural gas energy plan

By Clarissa Kell-Holland, Land Line staff writer | 1/26/2012

Natural gas, once viewed by many as a “pie in the sky” alternative, has been gaining momentum as a viable fuel source to power America’s trucks in the past few years.

At a UPS facility in Las Vegas on Thursday, Jan. 26, President Barack Obama renewed his commitment to curbing the United States’ dependence on foreign oil by outlining his energy initiatives that includes offering tax incentives to help companies buy natural-gas powered vehicles.


Photo courtesy of Kenworth Trucks

President Obama announces his renewed commitment to natural gas at UPS in Las Vegas.

UPS was one of the first companies to integrate natural gas into their fleet. According to their website, they currently have 59 tractors using liquefied natural gas.

While some local and regional trucking operations, including port operation, have been successful in using liquefied natural gas – or LNG – in their fleets for a few years now, the lack of a national infrastructure fueling network has made it problematic for long-haul truckers.

Obama’s plan includes continued work with the private sector to “develop up to five natural gas corridors along our highways.”

“We know how to make these trucks, but if they don’t have a place to pull in and fuel we have problems,” he said in his speech Thursday.

His energy plan calls for the exploration and development of 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico in 2012. He says that could lead to the creation of more than 600,000 jobs in the next 10 years as the U.S. uses more natural gas and depends less on foreign oil.

“We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” he said.

Lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan bill – H.R. 1380 – the “New Alternative Transportation to Give Solutions Act of 2011,” which has over 180 cosponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. The NAT GAS Act would provide incentives to those who purchase natural gas-powered vehicles.

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