Propane Snub: LPG Left Off Alternative Vehicle Fuel Bills

Propane powers tricked-out F-150s, but gets left out of current legislation on alternative fuel vehicles. (image: pickuptrucks.com)

Propane trade groups are feeling snubbed by a pair of bills in Congress that would put billions of dollars in tax credits and subsidies into alternative fuel vehicles, but not for propane.

The names on the legislation — “Promoting Electric Vehicle Act” and the “Promoting Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles Act ” — make it clear where the money would go. If passed, the bills provide $4.5 billion to stoke the natural gas car industry, and $1.5 billion for research into plug-in electric cars, according to LP Gas Magazine.

Under one measure, people who buy a qualified natural gas car would get an $8,000 rebate off the purchase price.

An editorial in the current issue of LP Gas gives a blistering assessment of the proposal, which is currently parked in the Senate. It points to propane’s long resume powering cars and public transport, and a solid national supply network.

In addition, propane is often ranked as the most popular alternative vehicle fuel, after gasoline and diesel.

“The bottom line is the government should not be in the business of picking the winners when it comes to alternative motor fuels,” LP Gas writes.

The propane giant AmeriGas echoed the feeling. “Why are lawmakers ignoring propane’s alt-fuel potential?” the company posted on its Twitter page Monday.

According to the Department of Energy, there is exactly one light-duty natural gas vehicle available to car buyers in the US. It is the Honda Civic GX, with an MSRP of $25,490. Compare that to the $15,805 pricetag on a standard four-door Civic, and an $8,000 subsidy would almost cover the natural gas premium.

Want the fine print? Get out your reading glasses for the Promoting Electric Vehicles Act of 2010 and the Promoting Natural Gas and Electric Vehicles Act of 2010.

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