Print 54 comment(s) - last by GlobleWarmingi.. on Jul 14 at 7:04 PM

Natural gas could become the new ethanol -- the alternative fuel of choice -- if a new bill passes. Like ethanol engines, gas-natural gas dual mode engines suffer a performance loss of as much as 15 percent.  (Source:

The U.S. has among the world's most abundant natural gas deposits (regions with highest levels shown in brown).  (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
A variety of vehicle weight classes are covered by new natural gas bill

A new bill, NAT GAS (New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions), has been proposed by U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV),and Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) which looks to push natural gas vehicles into the consumer mainstream.  The proposal looks to offer a bevy of natural gas vehicle purchasing, refueling and manufacturing tax credits which would eclipse even current credits for electric vehicles.

People purchasing a light vehicle capable of running on natural gas would get a $12,500 tax credit, significantly more than the $7,500 credit offered for plug-in vehicles.  Current tax credits for three other weight classes would double, up to a maximum of $80,000 for the largest vehicle class.

Bi-fuel (gas and natural gas) vehicles would also be eligible for a 50 percent incremental cost tax credit -- this means that 50 percent of the costs that companies assume from increasing production would be offset by tax credits.  The bill would also make it 100 percent tax deductible (with some limitations) to build a facility which builds natural gas vehicles.  The bill would also offer refueling stations up to $100,000 to provide natural gas vehicle refilling pumps.

The new bill was masterminded and heavily praised by oil and natural gas baron T. Boone Pickens.  Mr. Pickens had made headlines last year, announcing a massive wind power project.  Just last week, he essentially pulled the plug on the project, and called natural gas the "only option" for the U.S.

With his heavy natural gas holdings Mr. Pickens stands to make a small fortune if the bill should pass.  Indeed, the natural gas industry as a whole would see a huge boost from the bill.

Natural gas vehicles run on methane, the primary component of natural gas.  Methane engines run approximately as efficiently as gasoline/petrol engines, but are less efficient than diesel engines.  Dual-mode engines suffer a 10 to 15 percent efficiency loss over gas-only engines, due to the higher octane number of 120-130.

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By shazbotron on 7/13/2009 4:44:33 PM , Rating: 5
With his heavy natural gas holdings Mr. Pickens stands to make a small fortune if the bill should pass.

I wonder if a portion of Mr. Pickens' (soon to be realized) small fortune was used on lobbyists to help Senators Menendez, Hatch and Reid see his point of view.

RE: Fortune?
By rcc on 7/13/2009 6:38:17 PM , Rating: 5
Isn't that a little bit like asking if water is wet?

RE: Fortune?
By Cypherdude1 on 7/13/2009 10:36:08 PM , Rating: 2
Mr. Pickens had made headlines last year, announcing a massive wind power project. Just last week, he essentially pulled the plug on the project

What this story really proves, in my opinion, is that if Mr. Pickens had really wanted to, he could've lobbied his, in my opinion, rich fatcat senate buddies to pay for all the transmission lines he needed to carry power from his wind power project to the rest of the country. Instead, he, in my opinion, used his contacts in the senate to help him make more money selling natural gas, effectively having the government subsidize his vehicle purchases.

RE: Fortune?
By 67STANG on 7/13/2009 6:39:09 PM , Rating: 3
Don't be silly. They just finally realized that natural gas is "our only option".

Although I've got to say, if there were no special interests attached to this, I'd support it all the way. How cool would tailgate parties be? I've got the first product to push for the ghost of Billy Mays.

"Hi, Billy Mays here with The BBQ Bedliner. It's the mighty grill that hooks up the your natural gas tank and puts down the sizzle, for shizzle. Just $29.99, but if you call now, we'll double the offer..."

RE: Fortune?
By scaliguri on 7/13/2009 7:19:35 PM , Rating: 2
That product already exists: Good thoguht though!

RE: Fortune?
By 67STANG on 7/13/2009 7:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
Damn it.

RE: Fortune?
By grandpope on 7/13/2009 7:31:43 PM , Rating: 2
I think that he was saying it would get natural gas from the vehicle's tank directly, not just attach to the tow hitch.

RE: Fortune?
By Jimbo1234 on 7/13/2009 9:59:54 PM , Rating: 2
I've been supplying natural gas at tailgates for years. It's that I only chose to light it once - nice blue flame. Luckily I didn't even burn my pants.

RE: Fortune?
By satinspiral on 7/14/2009 12:54:57 AM , Rating: 2
"Just pay shipping snd processing!"---->read: pipelines, tanker trucks, auto-plants, vehicle purchases, etc etc etc

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