Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, recently introduced with Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Development Act, a bill that would incentivize the production and purchase of alternative fuel and natural gas vehicles.
“The booming natural gas industry in America is delivering a cheap, domestic energy source for our homes and businesses, but this fuel source is being underutilized in our vehicles," said Inhofe. "Unless current policy begins to fully recognize the potential of natural gas as a clean, mainstream fuel for our everyday cars, its use in light-weight vehicles is expected to remain below 1 percent. Oklahomans have led the nation in the use of NGVs, and I have introduced the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Development Act to help the rest of the nation tap into the benefits of using natural gas in vehicles. The legislation will incentivize automakers to bring NGVs to the market more quickly by streamlining regulations and removing red tape that automakers currently must comply with. My bill will also support consumer adoption by empowering states to give HOV-lane privileges to NGVs and other alternative fuel vehicles. I am proud to introduce this legislation with my colleague Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, and together we'll be working to bring this bill up for a vote in Congress."
Current law allows automakers to earn credits for compliance with the CAFE program by producing alternative fuel dual-fueled vehicles, but these credits are subject to a cap. Today, automakers earn the majority of their allowed credits by producing E85 Flex-Fuel vehicles, leaving none left for more advanced alternative dual-fuel vehicles. The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Development Act modifies the program by removing the credit cap for natural gas and other alternative fuel dual-fueled vehicles, excluding E85 Flex Fuel Vehicles. The legislation would also encourage the consumer purchase of natural gas and other alternative fuel vehicles by giving states the option to allow these vehicles to use high-occupancy vehicle lanes without passenger restrictions.