On Friday, President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that provides a two-week extension for federal transportation funding. It’s a short-term fix, intended to buy time as lawmakers “iron out” a compromise on the two houses’ multi-year highway bills, which- at this point- include provisions related to alternative fuel vehicle incentives that could apply to new CNG vehicles.
As of November 9th, the House of Representatives’ highway bill includes an amendment to clarify alternative fuel vehicles’ eligibility for certain incentive funds. The bill would also include provisions that would require the EPA to provide the same tax and carbon incentives to automobile manufacturers for the production of natural gas vehicles that it does for the production of electric vehicles. Emphasis mine. That would mean federal tax credits of anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500 for new buyers. The House version would also open up Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program funds to be doled out to new alternative-fuel vehicle projects.
At the same time, the Senate’s long-term highway bill, which passed in July, includes an amendment to give a 2,000-pound weight allowance to natural-gas-powered trucks on federal highways.
It’s unclear if either- or both!- of those CNG friendly amendments will make it into the final bill, but- at the very least- it could be very good news for CNG fans who are still holding out for an all-new natural gas Civic from Honda.