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News Archive - June 2007

$50 Million Approved by Senate Subcommittee for Diesel Emission Reduction Program
June 25, 2007 - The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, the environment, and Related Agencies approved their fiscal year 2008 budget, which provides $50 million for the Diesel Emission Reduction Program; $15 million more than requested. The Diesel Emission Grant Program has emission reduction grants in five sectors: freight, construction, school buses, agriculture and ports. Projects that involve natural gas vehicles and natural gas engines replacing diesel vehicles and engines are eligible to apply for these funds. More information on the grant program and application deadlines is expected to be released later on this year.

Senate Passes Energy Bill
June 22, 2007 – In the first change to the nation's fuel-efficiency law since 1975, the Senate passed a comprehensive energy legislation package (H.R. 6 or The Clean Energy Act) on June 21, 2007 that raises the fleet wide mileage standards for cars, trucks and SUVs to 35 mpg by model year 2020, and requires the use of bio-fuels to climb to 36 billion gallons by 2022. It also sets penalties for gasoline price hikes and would give the government further power to investigate the reasons behind the pricing set by the oil companies, and provides for federal grants and loans to promote research into fuel-efficient vehicles. The bill passed despite opposition from auto companies and their internal supporters in a 65 to 27 vote, led by the Democrats. Senator Harry M. Reid (D-Nev), the majority leader said that "This bill starts America on a path toward reducing our reliance on oil by increasing the nation's use of renewable fuels and for the first time in decades significantly improving the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks." Unfortunately, the $32 billion tax package that would have poured money into CNG and LNG projects by raising taxes on oil and gas companies did not pass. This was due largely in part to cost concerns brought up by many Senators during the three-day, intensive debate before the bill was passed.

2007 G-8 Agenda to Include Natural Gas Vehicles
June 14, 2007 – In a declaration made by G-8 organizers, natural gas vehicles have found their place on the G-8 Alternative Fuel Agenda. Natural gas vehicles are to be included in the discussion covering the impact of motor vehicles around the world. The declaration stated that in the world today there are currently 600 million motor vehicles; a number that is expected to double by 2020. Taking this into account, the G-8 set out a number of measures including an increase in the share of alternative fueled vehicles and advanced technology vehicles. Among the technologies listed, natural gas came out on top, followed closely by hydrogen, biofuels, LPG, electric vehicles and hybrids. The declaration acknowledged awareness of the negative economic side effects generated when bio-fuels are produced in developing countries and competition over land-mass use escalates, and invited the "Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) to continue its work on biofuel best practices and take forward the successful and sustainable development of bioenergy." The issues and ideas discussed in the declaration will be monitored and officially evaluated and reported to G-8 leaders biennially during the Environmentally Friendly Vehicles Conference.

Senate Finance Committee Proposes Extending NGV Tax Credits
June 14, 2007 - The "Energy Advancement and Investment Act of 2007" bill was announced in the U.S. Senate. The bill includes extensions of the CNG/LNG fuel, vehicle and infrastructure tax credits, an action that many pro-natural gas groups have been lobbying hard for over the last two years. In addition to extending the NGV credit windows, the bill also would establish a new credit for plug-in vehicles, with a base amount of $2,500. Like the hybrid programs in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the program is available until the manufacturer sells 60,000 units, and then ramps down. The overall measure would cost $13.7 billion against revenue provisions that would provide $14.6 billion over the next ten years. The biggest single revenue raising comes from the House legislation (H.R. 6) that was passed in January 2007, which is estimated to yield a bit under $10 billion over ten years. H.R. 6 stipulated the ending of oil and natural gas production companies' ability to claim the domestic manufacturer's tax break available since September 2004. The Committee is expected to mark up the bill on Tuesday, June 26th, after which the package is to be added to the Energy bill the full Senate is currently debating. For more information, please follow the links below:
JCX-31-07: Description of the "Energy Advancement And Investment Act Of 2007"
JCX-32-07: Estimated Revenue Effects of the "Energy Advancement And Investment Act Of 2007"

Mayor of San Francisco Urges the Switch to AFVs for Citywide Taxi Fleet
June 12, 2007 – The Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom, urged the San Francisco Taxi Commission today to approve a resolution that calls for switching the high-polluting current taxi fleet with alternative fueled vehicles and hybrids. Mayor Newsom hopes that this resolution will eliminate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in taxis by 2020, specifically by requiring that by 2011, the city's taxi industry must reduce its total greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent from the current levels and by 20 percent from 1990 levels. This is no surprise to his constituents, as the Mayor in his 2006 State of the City Address pledged to convert all 1400 taxis to hybrid or alternative fueled vehicles by 2011. The new resolution provides the direction needed to help achieve that goal. Experts estimate that emissions could be reduced by up to 60 percent, if the entire taxi fleet was converted to hybrid or natural gas.

First 20 Heavy Duty LNG Trucks To Be Deployed at the Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach
June 6, 2007 - Vancouver based Westport Innovations Inc. announced that the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) approved $2.9 million for the immediate acquisition and deployment of 20 Westport LNG heavy duty trucks at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Under the terms of the agreement, Los Angeles based Total Transportation Services, Inc. (TTSI) will replace 20 of its pre-1990 trucks with the 2006 California Air Resources Board (CARB) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified Westport LNG systems installed in Kenworth T800 trucks. Collectively known as the San Pedro Bay Ports, the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles wrote and approved the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) in November of 2006 (in conjunction with the EPA, CARB and the SCAQMD). The CAAP sets out a plan to replace approximately 5,300 diesel trucks with LNG trucks by 2011.

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