Autogas for America, Other Industry Leaders Hopeful New Legislation Will Boost Visibility

Though naturally soft-spoken, Autogas for America leader Stuart Weidie is quickly becoming the propane autogas industry's strongest voice. The efforts of his group are driving infrastructure expansion, and we can likely expect to see significantly more autogas-powered vehicles on the road in the near future. (image: Automotive Digest via flickr.com)

After recently being left out of a House bill promoting natural gas as an alternative fuel, the propane industry is looking to garner attention and support from Capitol Hill with a bill of its own, the “Propane Green Autogas Solutions Act,” the New York Times reported. Stuart Weidie, leader of Autogas for America, noted that while propane is vastly popular throughout the rest of the world, autogas suffers from low visibility here in the states. He hopes the new bill will give autogas a high-profile makeover and get the word out on its advantages as a motor fuel.

“Our position is that everybody ought to have the opportunity for subsidies or nobody should have them,” Weidie said. “[Natural gas] is getting all the publicity, and we don’t want to be disadvantaged. We’re not an experimental deal. We’re here, we’re available.”

“At the end of the day, our policymakers should be creating an environment where we’re using American fuels, but they shouldn’t decide which ones are going to accomplish objectives,” he added.

Autogas currently qualifies for certain incentives from the government including rebates and tax credits to offset the costs of installing refueling stations, converting gasoline engines, and the fuel itself. The new bill would offer a five-year extension on those incentives.

The fuel is gaining popularity among fleets and transportation professionals, but it doesn’t seem to be on the radar with private drivers – yet. Industry leaders are hopeful some increased visibility will inspire a major automaker to finally release an autogas vehicle in the American market.

“It used to be that almost no one we would talk to had any knowledge about autogas, even though we are as the number 3 fuel in the world,” said Tucker Perkins, CEO and president of CleanFUEL USA. “I would definitely say it’s better, but by no means have we reached the point where we can say the job is done. We’re not even close to that.”

To accompany the new legislation, Autogas for America is going on the offensive with their new blog called American Fuel Facts and a video comparing autogas to gasoline and natural gas. Check it out:

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