Several U.S. senators are pushing the drive toward alternative fuel vehicles through legislation as one way to reduce the U.S. government’s dependence on oil while some federal and state offices such as the U.S. Postal Service and state law enforcement agencies are already making the transition to more fuel-efficient vehicles.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Senators Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Robert B. Menendez (D-NJ) have introduced legislation to increase the use of natural gas in motor vehicles, reports PennEnergy.
The three senators said their bill, S. 1408, would expand the alternative fuel vehicle and refueling property tax credits. According to the senators, the bill would make all dedicated natural gas vehicles (NGVs) eligible for a federal tax credit equal to 80 percent of the vehicle’s incremental cost, and make all bifuel NGVs eligible for a 50 percent federal tax credit for the first time, reports PennEnergy.
The bill would also increase allowable incremental cost limits to more accurately reflect costs of producing or converting NGVs, and extend for 10 years alternative fuel credits for natural gas used as vehicle fuel, for the purchase of an NGV and for installing NGV refueling equipment, according to the article.
Another provision allows 100 percent of the cost of an NGV manufacturing plant that is placed in service before Jan. 1, 2015, to be treated as a deduction in the taxable year in which the facility was placed in service, reports PennEnergy. This provision would decrease to 50 percent after Dec. 31, 2014, and be phased out by Jan. 1, 2020, according to the article.
Federal and state agencies are already making the move to fuel-efficient vehicles for their fleets. As an example, the U.S. Postal Service will replace 6,500 vehicles with 1,000 E-85 ethanol-capable and 900 gasoline/electric hybrid vehicles for its delivery fleet, as part of a vehicle purchase by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), reports the CleanMPG forum.
The balance of the GSA purchase for the Postal Service will be fuel-efficient, four-cylinder vehicles, which will replace aging vehicles at postal offices and facilities across the country, according to CleanMPG. The 1,900 vehicles from GSA will bring the total number of alternate fuel-capable vehicles in the Postal Service fleet to more than 43,000.
The Postal Service said in the article that it has increased alternative fuel use by 41 percent since 2006, and plans to reduce petroleum use by 20 percent over the next five years through the replacement of aging vehicles with more fuel-efficient and alternative fuel-capable vehicles.
Carbon Motors has reported that it has received more than 10,000 orders from several states for its first E7 police car, even though it isn’t expected to go into production until 2012, reports Motor Trends. The fuel-efficient designed E7 is powered by a 3.0L turbodiesel engine with 300 hp and 420 lb-ft of torque that is expected to get up to 30 mpg and is outfitted by police-specific features.
The car company is also looking for a site to build its factory and has received proposals from five states.