Natural Gas vs. Diesel War Heats Up, Congress to Vote on NAT GAS Act

All it took was a series of remarks made by President Obama during a speech at the Georgetown University for the media to light up like a Christmas tree. At the same time, all the companies that do their business in the natural gas sector have begun filling their wish list for the new year.

The spark that ignited it all started a bit like this: “The potential for natural gas is enormous,” Obama said. “Last year, more than 150 members of Congress from both sides of the aisle produced legislation providing incentives to use clean-burning natural gas in our vehicles instead of oil. And - and that’s a big deal.”

The big deal started with an idea of T. Boone Pickens, who for the past three years has been the most fervent advocate of the implementation of natural gas. And for good reason: Pickens is the largest shareholder in Clean Energy Fuels, a huge operator of 200 natural gas refueling stations and who, through Clean Energy, also owns BAF Technologies, one of the main companies specializing in converting cars to run on natural gas.

Since three years ago, the bill backed by Pickens has come to be known as the NAT GAS Act. It calls for subsidies in supporting the purchase of natural gas trucks instead of diesel ones, and at the same time calls for federal tax credits for natural gas refueling stations.

President Obama, during the speech that caused a vivid reaction soon after, called on the Congress to “keep at it, pass a bill that helps us achieve the goal of extracting natural gas in a safe, environmentally sound way.”

Naturally, the US natural gas vehicle industry association, the NGVAmerica, is delighted with the boost the bill got from the President himself. In their view, the huge domestic resources are enough to put a serious dent in the dependence on foreign oil.

At the opposite pole, the Diesel Technology Forum says most of the technologies needed for the bill to be put into practice are
“in developmental stages or won't be functional for many years.”
They say diesel is the driving force of the world in terms of efficiency, thus it “can and must be part of our current and future national energy strategy.”

The NAT GAS Act will be introduced in the current Congress on April 6. Pickens is confident the bill will pass. Especially since he spent all that money backing it.

“This is all going to be done; I’m not kidding you. I have committed my time and my own money to it. I spent $82 million out of my pocket on this plan,” Pickens said according to “We’re going to get it done because it has to be done for the country. If we go forward without an energy plan from here it’ll be a disaster.”

Full details about the Pickens plan that cost all that money can be found at the following link.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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