Support Builds For Propane Autogas Incentives Bill

Propane autogas-powered vehicles are cleaner burning and cheaper to run than gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles. (image: afdc.energy.gov)

An autogas lobby group is calling for the propane-based fuel to receive legislative parity with other alternative energy resources.

Autogas for America is championing proposed legislation which seeks to extend tax credits and incentives for autogas, autogas-powered vehicles and autogas refueling infrastructure for another five years.

The bi-partisan Propane Green Autogas Solution Act was tabled in Washington last week. It aims to promote autogas as a domestically-produced, cleaner burning alternative to gasoline and diesel, reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Autogas for America founder Stuart Weidie said extending the subsidies would give autogas parity with other alternative fuels such as natural gas and ethanol.

Ultimately, alternative fuels should be able to stand on their own merits, without incentives. The government shouldn’t be shouldered with underwriting innovation. But, if they’re going to incentivize certain technologies – like natural gas, ethanol and electric vehicles – they should also incentivize propane autogas. Failing to do so would directly conflict with the core values of a free market economy.

Autogas is the world’s third most popular vehicle fuel. It is cheaper than gasoline or diesel and cleaner burning, with fewer harmful emissions. More than 90 percent of the autogas consumed in the US is produced domestically and supply is projected to increase in the next decade.

Autogas America – an industry group comprising autogas experts, transport specialists and environmentalists – aims to increase the number of autogas-powered vehicles in the US from about 200,000 currently to 500,000 by 2013.

Autogas is gaining in popularity, particularly among transport fleets, as gasoline prices soar over $4 a gallon in some states. But powerful Big Oil companies control the lion’s share of the transport fuel market and currently enjoy taxpayer subsidies of about $4 billion a year.

Weidie said that after months of pushing for parity in alternative fuels legislation, he was pleased to see the propane autogas bill introduced.

“It means lawmakers recognize the importance of promoting all alternative fuel technologies on an even playing field.”

Autogas for America stakeholder and ROUSH CleanTech president Joe Thompson said the price differential between gasoline and autogas was growing every day.

Because conventional fuels like gasoline and diesel have such a stranglehold on the market, the ability to discount the price of autogas an additional 50 cents, and to offer substantial incentives on autogas vehicles, has helped us get an increasing number of America’s fleets running on this clean-burning fuel.