STATE NGV LEGISLATIVE INITIATIVES GAINING GROUND
So far 2014 has proved to be a busy year for NGV advocates at the state level. Less than three months into the year, a number of important legislative initiatives have already been enacted. In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed into law a measure that provides an additional weight allowance of up to 2,000 pounds for natural gas trucks. That measure (HB 341) covers intrastate roadways in Virginia. Last year, Indiana and Ohio adopted similar provisions. Action to allow states to provide a similar exemption or weight allowance covering travel on interstate roadways is pending in the U.S. Congress.
On the tax front, New Mexico (HB 30), South Dakota (SD 93) and Wyoming (HB 69) have in the past two weeks enacted legislation adjusting their motor fuel taxes so that natural gas is more equitably taxed taking into account its energy content. In the case of New Mexico and Wyoming, the state excise tax will be imposed per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) (5.66 lbs. or 126.67 cu. ft.) of CNG and per diesel gallon equivalent (6.06 pounds) for LNG. South Dakota’s law imposes the excise tax per 126.67 cubic feet of CNG and per 1.5536 gallons of LNG. South Dakota and New Mexico’s provisions go into effect July 1, 2014 while Wyoming’s go into effect immediately. Bills pending in at least twelve other states include provisions addressing the tax treatment of CNG and/or LNG in order to make them more equitable.
In addition to these bills, there also are now bills in four states (Alabama, California, Illinois and Missouri) that direct state authorities to allow natural gas to be sold in diesel gallon equivalent (DGE). Currently there is no uniform standard for dispensing LNG, but the natural gas industry is pushing for adopting of rules that allow both CNG and LNG to be dispensed in DGE units. You may recall that NGVAmerica recently sent out a call-to-action regarding the DGE standard, and the National Conference of Weights and Measures (NCWM) is considering this issue. NCWM is expected to take up this issue in July when it meets in Detroit, Michigan for its annual meeting. We hope to shortly be able to provide an update describing what exactly will be presented to NCWM delegates this summer.