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NGVAmerica Will Continue Pushing DGE Standard despite NCWM Vote

This past week, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) voted on and failed to pass the diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) standard for selling natural gas at retail fueling stations. The DGE standard would have created greater uniformity and consistency for the natural gas vehicle industry.

The DGE proposal received sufficient votes to pass in the House of Representatives with 32 of 40 states in attendance voting for the DGE measure. Like last year, however, the measure failed to receive sufficient support in the House of Delegates where the vote was 31 delegates against and 26 delegates in favor. Despite overwhelming supportive public comments and testimony during the meeting’s open hearing, there continues to be strong opposition from a handful of states, including California. By some counts (they don’t conduct a roll call in the House of Delegates) there were as many as 20 California officials on hand voting in the House of Delegates. Despite this opposition, California actually is one of the ten states that now has enacted legislation recognizing the DGE method of sale for natural gas, and the state’s top weights and measure official who sits in the House of Representatives voted for the DGE.

The NCWM process for adopting standards once again proved frustrating for natural gas advocates.  The rules provide that each state gets one vote in the House of Representatives but for the House of Delegates, the voting includes all weights and measures officials in attendance and includes county and city officials.  One thing that has hurt this effort is the fact that the states who oppose the DGE tend to send more delegates than the states that support the DGE effort, and of course the resistance from local California regulators has not helped.  Also, industry representatives who are members of NCWM do not have a vote in either body.

“Unfortunately transparency, uniformity, and consistency have fallen victim to a dysfunctional voting process,” said NGVAmerica president Matt Godlewski. “However, state legislators understand the importance of this issue and we will continue this effort state-by-state if that’s what it takes to see this issue through.”

The DGE proposal now goes back to the committee level for additional consideration.  The status of this issue could be revised to Informational or Developing if the NCWM feels like the issue needs more work before being voted on again, or it could be brought back without change as a voting item.  The NCWM votes on standards each summer at its annual meetings, so the next opportunity for this issue at NCWM will occur next July in Denver, Colorado.

NGVAmerica will continue to work with its members and other trade allies to determine the best strategy for seeking adoption of the DGE standard, which will include pushing for state legislation.  NGVAmerica would like to express thanks to all of members, trade allies, and other organizations who have been so supportive on this issue.

For more information, please contact Jeff Clarke 202.824.7364, or jclarke@NGVAmerica.org.