Menendez, Burr Applaud President for Joining Call for More Use of Natural Gas in Transportation

Authors of NAT GAS Act Look Forward to Working with the Administration To Pass Fully Paid-For New Incentives

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Richard Burr (R-NC) today applauded the President for endorsing the idea of creating new incentives for running medium and heavy trucks, and public transportation vehicles on natural gas. The Senators are authors of the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions (NAT GAS) Act of 2011, legislation that would boost domestic production of vehicles that run on clean natural gas by extending tax credits for natural gas vehicles and building refueling infrastructure, and be fully paid for by a temporary user fee on natural gas used as a vehicle fuel.

Today President Obama will give two speeches about his clean energy blueprint announced during the State of the Union address. The first talk will occur at a United Parcel Service facility in Las Vegas, the second at Buckley Air Force base in Aurora, Colorado. In both speeches the President is expected to endorse new incentives for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that run on natural gas and support programs to convert municipal buses and trucks to run on natural gas. These ideas are both in and fully paid for in the NAT GAS Act.

"We look forward to working with the President to pass our legislation to use more cheap, domestic natural gas here in America instead of exporting this fuel abroad," said Menendez. "Our bipartisan bill will create jobs and lower transportation costs and do so without adding one dime to the deficit. This is exactly the kind of bipartisan proposal we should be able to pass, even in an election year."

"Natural gas represents a way to boost our nation's energy security and help free us from our over-reliance on foreign oil, and I am pleased to hear that the President is committed to working with us on this effort" said Senator Burr. "Energy security is absolutely vital to national security, and our bill would be a step in the right direction towards decreasing our dependence on imported energy sources."

Currently there are nearly 14 million natural gas vehicles in the world, but only about 117,000 in the United States. [EIA, 2011] It is estimated that the NAT GAS Act of 2011 will jumpstart the industry and in ten years add over 700,000 NGVs to our roads. In addition it is estimated that the bill will displace over 20 billion gallons of fuel and create over 1 million direct and indirect jobs.

Natural Gas is Plentiful

North America's natural gas resources discoveries have increased by more than 1,800 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) over the past three years, bringing the total natural gas resource base to more than 3,000 Tcf. With U.S. natural gas demand at about 23.5 Tcf per year, this resource could supply current consumption for over 100 years. [Fueling North America's Energy Future, p. ES-4]

Natural Gas Is Cheap

At the pump, on average, CNG sells for $2.33 per gasoline gallon equivalent while gasoline sells for $3.46 [DOE Clean Cities Price Report, p. 3]. LNG, which competes primarily with diesel fuel, currently is selling for $2.25 per diesel gallon equivalent while diesel sells for $3.81 per gallon. [Id., p. 6 n.6]

We Have To Decide: Do We Use It Here Or Export It?

If we do not use our natural gas here in America, it will be exported abroad, for other's benefit. The price of natural gas internationally is significantly higher than it is here in the United States. As a result one facility recently received a permit to export natural gas and four more U.S. facilities are following suit. [Testimony of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Oil & Natural Gas Mr. Chris Smith, 11/8/11] We can use that natural gas here in the United States to displace oil or we can export it, so other countries can improve their own energy security and clean their air.