New Plan Would Put More Natural Gas Vehicles on PA’s Roadways

On Tuesday, April 5, the PA-based Marcellus Shale Coalition (MSC) released a new study: Roadmap for Pennsylvania Jobs, Energy Security and Clean Air (download it here, PDF file). The Roadmap outlines a plan for expanding the use of Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs), in particular their use by fleets of vehicles—buses, trucks and cars—owned and operated by government and private industry. The Roadmap recommends incentives and policy changes to encourage use of NGVs and expanding an existing network of established natural gas refueling stations by establishing an additional 17 new public refueling stations along key interstate highways  throughout Pennsylvania.

“Leveraging our region’s clean-burning, job-creating resources from the Marcellus Shale, through smarter technologies, will generate huge economic and environmental benefits for Pennsylvania businesses, consumers, and public transportation systems,” said Kathryn Klaber, president and executive director of the MSC.

Added Klaber: “More effectively using American natural gas as a transportation fuel offers a clear, clean and cost-effective alternative to address air quality challenges, while providing a reliable, homegrown energy source to fuel economic growth. New sources of domestic energy, specifically shale gas, provides this region and our nation with a transformative opportunity. As shown in The Roadmap, the transportation sector will certainly be a part of that transformation.”(1)

If the Roadmap is implemented as outlined, the MSC says it would:

  • Save fleet operators money. The current average price per gallon for diesel fuel in PA is $3.85, for gasoline it’s $3.35, and the equivalent price for natural gas is $1.90.
  • Create an additional 1,350 jobs in PA in trucking, refueling stations, natural gas processing facilities and drilling.
  • Benefit the environment by reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by 720 tons, particulate matter (PM) emissions by 14.5 tons, and greenhouse gas emissions by 21,000 metric tons each year.

An apparently well-timed (coordinated?) package of bills was introduced into the PA House of Representatives on Wednesday, April 6 aimed at getting more natural-gas powered buses and trucks onto PA’s roads.

The plan would move $47.5 million in state money into tax credits, grants and loans aimed at encouraging transit authorities, school districts, local governments and private businesses to convert their fleets to natural gas-powered vehicles. It also would eventually require transit authorities in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the Lehigh Valley to buy strictly natural-gas powered vehicles by the year 2027 and provide tax credits to encourage the construction of natural gas fueling stations along most of Pennsylvania’s interstate highways.(2)

(1) Marcellus Shale Coalition (Apr 5, 2011) – New Study Outlines Pennsylvania’s Clean Transportation Roadmap

(2) The Citizen’s Voice (Apr 6, 2011) – House GOP wants more natural gas buses, trucks