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Proposed Natural Gas Act running out of fuel

Known as the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act, or the NAT GAS Act, the bill intended to jump-start the use of natural-gas-powered heavy-duty trucks by giving tax incentives and subsidies to purchasers and manufacturers of such vehicles seems likely to expire.
Posted: July 28, 2011 - 3:30PM
Author: Don Bain


Karl W. Miller, a senior energy executive for a company providing alternative energy systems, is a major supporter in establishing a comprehensive energy plan for the U.S.

Miller believes government handouts simply do not work. Capital markets should make investment decisions based upon supply, demand, and price points among other factors. The use of natural gas can't be legislated via forced consumption, media blitzes and governmental taxes or subsidies for natural gas vehicles.

The essential elements of the failed "Pickens Plan" were incorporated into the New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act, or the NAT GAS Act, which was introduced by groups of senators and representatives in the previous two Congresses. The legislation would jump-start the use of natural-gas-powered heavy-duty trucks by giving tax incentives and subsidies to purchasers and manufacturers of natural-gas-powered vehicles.

A bill promoting natural gas vehicles was first introduced in 2008 by archconservative Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), according to a statement released by Miller. The initial NAT GAS Act was soon introduced by a bipartisan coalition including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and conservative Tom Coburn (R-OK).

The primary proponents of dropping support for the NAT GAS Act in Congress are the Koch brothers. Charles Koch has been loudly vocalizing his opposition to the "misguided suggestion that the natural-gas industry should receive enormous new subsidies."

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) has also been leading attacks against the NAT GAS Act due to his opposition of "using taxpayer dollars to support targeted interests within the energy sector."

This opposition is growing as intial co-sponsors take the rare step of publicly withdrawing support for a bill they previously favored. Reps. Tim Griffin (R-AR) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) withdrew their names as sponsors on May 26, joining Reps. Todd Akin (R-MO) and Steve Pearce (R-NM), who backed away earlier in the month. Rep. Thompson had also been a co-sponsor of the 2009 version of the bill.

Miller’s company has a vested interest in the direction the nation’s new energy plan proceeds, but it’s not hard to see when the government is near insolvency, the last thing we need is another large fiscal outlay to help one form of energy over another in the marketplace, which, after all, can take care of itself.


Frank Sherosky    July 28, 2011 - 4:28PM

Then the energy companies should act on their own providing infrastructure. Build it and the truckers will come, because the synergies and cost savings over time are still in place, even without government subsidies.

Anonymous (not verified)    August 27, 2011 - 9:30AM

In reply to by Frank Sherosky

We spend one million dollars a every single hour on oil that is foreign on average - PER HOUR. Some of this money goes to causes against
our interests that our hostile to American Security and it's people.

We are sending hundreds of billions of dollars to foreign lands. This money would stay here and create 1 million jobs or more decreasing unemployment and increase wealth in this country which is what ALL of us need.

It would also deliver sub 2 dollar fuel which again would provide DAILY relief to hurting hard working middle class (hundreds of millions).

This would increase jobs, save money daily, stimulate the economy and reduce debt.

We subsidize the Oil Companies NOW. This is 5 billion dollars over years. We spend that much on foreign oil in a day!

Ridiculous - CREATE THE JOBS and do it NOW. Enough Talk.

Anonymous (not verified)    August 27, 2011 - 9:47AM

In reply to by Frank Sherosky

China is ramping up. They are consuming more fuel and putting more cars on the road. Mathematically on a factual basis, fuel DEMAND over the next decade is on the rise. 4 percent consumes over 25 percent now (USA) and now we have China adding millions of vehicles every SINGLE year. There is over 1.3 billion people or 4x the size of the US!

Think AHEAD - we need action and we need it NOW - not later. Here are the facts NOW:

China has committed to Exploration, Production and Petroleum Infrastructure Construction Agreements in over 24 countries, some whom are unfriendly to the US

Since December 1st, 2007, China has spent approximately $236 Billion on oil purchase and "Loan for Energy" Deals to
secure future Oil Production for their countries needs.

China has signed agreements with IRAQ to consume oil production eventhough we defended and spent ALOT money there!

These contracts have the potential to deliver over 7.8 Billion Barrels of Oil to China

China has bid to purchase or bought large shares of stakes in over 22 International Oil Exploration and Production companies.

They are taking ACTION - we are talking. Just look at the Debt Ceiling discussion and it's indecision process.

We need Action - We need it NOW

Other Countries are making big moves and it consumes oil - ALOT of Oil

Aristaeus (not verified)    July 29, 2011 - 12:12AM

There's no perfect solution, so why emphasize the negatives? As I understand it, the subsidies will expire in five years. I'm generally opposed to Govt. subsidies, but jumpstarting an industry that has the potential of substantially reducing our dependence on foreign oil seems to me worthwhile. If we concentrate on the negatives nothing will ever be done. If subsidies are a concern, why not transfer the subsidy on corn ethanol,.a most inefficient fuel, to nat gas? (I own some shares of Clean Energy Fuels and Chesapeake Energy.)

Anonymous (not verified)    July 29, 2011 - 11:03AM

In reply to by Aristaeus (not verified)

Could't agree more. As far as the agrument that energy companies shouldn't be subsidized; isn't the elctric industry benefiting from gov't subisdies now for geo thermal and wind mills? I don't see that benfiting my electrical bill at home or business.

CO mike (not verified)    July 29, 2011 - 3:46PM

Don't completely disagree but if that's the case cut all the subsidies. We're dumping money on the windmill companies like it going out of style, money we obviously are curently borrowing from China. Difference is the environmental lefties love wind and solar no matter how bad the economics. Cut em all including oil.

Anonymous (not verified)    August 3, 2011 - 3:51PM

The same exact conservatives that are claiming that the government shouldn't pick "winners and losers in the free market", recently re-instated tax subsidies that big oil has been receiving for years and years.

In other words, it's ENTIRELY hypocritical to make this point when OUR government has already subsidized petroleum, in other words, we have already picked the winner in the market: BIG OIL

The Koch Brothers own huge oil refineries in Texas and have a vested financial interest in keeping the country on petroleum. Pompeo received huge funding from this source as well.

What they don't want to tell you is that most of the infrastructure that we have in this country was jump-started by government subsidies.

This whole - "it's not the government's job to pick winners and losers in the market" - argument, is simply rhetoric spun by conservatives who want to keep the country addicted to foreign oil for their own personal financial gain

The tax credits for the Nat Gas Act will only last 5 years and will jump-start an industry that is our best chance of getting our country off of foreign oil and on to a domestic fuel source

Natural Gas is the cleanest fuel for a internal combustion engine (with the exception of hydrogen) and is the most practical solution to getting our country off foreign oil. Plus it's about half the price of gasoline and diesel in a time where our gasoline and diesel prices are going through the roof because we are being held hostage by OPEC


Anonymous (not verified)    August 15, 2011 - 2:49PM

It will take more than a decade to get the USA up to speed using the free market alone, and we are hurting RIGHT NOW. This act will give us jobs and cut our costs starting within a couple of years.

What annoys me is that so many people would rather export 200 million dollars a year to some arab shiek rather than see 50 million go to an American - anything is better for some people than seeing Pickens get money.

This act gives us back our independence. And that is worth tax dollars being spent. I don't see this as any worse than tax dollars being spent on huge volumes of expensive military hardware, I see it as being preferable in every way.

Frank Sherosky    August 27, 2011 - 11:50AM

I noticed Toyota failed to make a dual-fuel statement with its new Camry. Don thinks solar and wind are the only future as per his comments on that article. My take is, the IC engine has another trick up its sleeve with split-cycle and air hybrids. Nat-gas fits in great with that approach.

Again Toyota had the opportunity to lead here and blew it. At least GM is introducing diesel for the Cruze, but still no nat-gas. Only Honda has a nat-gas option right now.

Problem is, the government seems biased toward total electricity for cars, but forgets over half of all powerplants are coal based. So, a nat-gas is a solution there, too.

Anonymous (not verified)    August 28, 2011 - 10:01PM

"Gov handouts dont work in capital markets" what a joke. That did not stop from all the banks taking bailout money...this is about big oil killing nat gas and the Kock bros etal...goes to shoe America is dead. All that matters is the financial interests of those at the top of the food chain..screw america..