February 26, 2020. On Thursday, February 20, Natural Gas Vehicles for America, the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, the American Public Gas Association, and the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition submitted joint comments to the U.S. EPA, urging it to consider developing strong incentives for medium and heavy duty natural gas vehicles as part of the agency’s Cleaner Truck Initiative. EPA unveiled its initial plans for the program in an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in January. That notice did not include regulatory text but requested input on future emission standards and incentives for cleaner trucks.
The joint comments supported EPA’s effort to promote the development and deployment of lower emission motor vehicles. In many places in the U.S., medium and heavy duty trucks and buses are the most significant contributors to ozone pollution and smog. They urged EPA to recognize the potential benefits of deploying cleaner natural gas trucks and buses as part of its effort and highlighted that fact nearly all current generation natural gas engines already meet much lower oxides of nitrogen (NOx) standards. In this regulatory undertaking, the primary focus is on lowering the standard for NOx while also addressing real-world emissions and certification test cycles.
Given that natural gas vehicles are available today that meets these standards and are likely to have a significant emission advantage for many years to come, they urged EPA to include strong regulatory incentives in its program to reward manufactures that are selling lower emitting engines today. They also highlighted a number of federal grant programs such as the Diesel Emission Reduction Program Act and the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program (CMAQ) that could be modified to provide enhanced incentives for low-NOx trucks and buses. In addition, they also encouraged the Administration to work with the Congress to consider support for extending the alternative fuel tax credit for natural gas and fixing the harmful excise tax on new trucks that penalizes cleaner trucks.