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NGVAmerica News Week in Review: August 3, 2015

  • NGVAmerica Celebrates the Passage of LNG Tax Fix by Congress
  • S. Senate Passes Long-Term Highway Bill
  • August Hearings Scheduled for Heavy Duty GHG and Fuel Efficiency Proposal
  • Free FMCSA Course: Leak Detection in Natural Gas and Propane CMVs
  • Republic Expands Natural Gas-Powered Fleet Serving Denver
  • Cummins Westport ISB6.7 G Natural Gas Engine Showcased for School Bus Market
  • Greenkraft Modifies a Heavy Duty Sweeper Truck to Natural Gas in California
  • Patriot CNG Breaks Ground on Station for Florida Utility
  • Trillium CNG Inks Deal With Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority
  • Penske Opens CNG Friendly Truck Facilities in Alabama
  • Quantum Launches New Back-of-Cab CNG Fuel Module
  • Agility Fuel Systems Announces CEO Transition
  • Fuel Systems Solutions’ MTM Signs Exclusive Contract with Eni, S.p.A.


NGVAmerica Celebrates the Passage of LNG Tax Fix by Congress

August 3, 2015

On Friday, the President signed legislation extending funding for the Nation’s highway programs for three month (H.R. 3236).  Both the House, by a vote of 385-34, and the Senate, by a vote of 91-4, had passed this legislation earlier in the week.  For the NGV industry, passage of the legislation means that NGVAmerica’s long term ongoing efforts to correct the inequity in the way liquefied natural gas (LNG) is taxed stands corrected and will further expand the use of clean-burning, domestic natural gas as a transportation fuel.  Currently, fleets operating LNG-powered trucks are effectively taxed for the fuel at a rate 70 percent higher than that of diesel fuel. This is an unfair penalty on those using domestically produced LNG in their trucking fleets.

The provision modifies the excise tax on LNG to be based on energy content, rather than volume, and thus brings the tax on LNG into parity with that of diesel. Starting Jan. 1, 2016, LNG will be taxed based on a diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) that is defined as equal to 6.06 pounds of LNG. The highway excise tax on LNG is reduced from approximately 41.3 cents per DGE to equal that of diesel fuel at 24.3 cents per DGE.

To illustrate the significance of the change, consider that a natural gas truck traveling 100,000 miles per year at 5 miles per DGE consumes 20,000 DGE per year.  Prior to the passage of the new law, the LNG truck would have a highway fuel tax bill of $8,262.  With this change, the LNG truck will now pay $4,860 a year in highway fuel taxes, a savings of $3,402 per year.

In helping to pass the tax equalization language, NGVAmerica commends the efforts of Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) as well as Congressmen Mac Thornberry (R-TX), John Larson (D-CT), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Kind (D-WI), Mike Kelly (R-PA) and their staffs, as well as Mr. Ken Kelley of GTM Manufacturing and all NGVAmerica members.


U.S. Senate Passes Long-Term Highway Bill

August 3, 2015

U.S. Senate passes a long-term (six year) highway bill (H.R. 22) this week.  The margin for final passage of the long-term bill was 65-34.  Included in the Senate passed long-term highway bill is 1) a weight allowance for HD NGV trucks, 2) expanded use of CMAQ funds at our nation’s ports, 3) HOV use for NGVs and, 4) the development of natural gas vehicle corridors.  As the House has yet to pass a long-term highway bill, “it will give us enough time for our committee to do our work, get something on the board and go to conference,” said Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), who is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.


August Hearings Scheduled for Heavy Duty GHG and Fuel Efficiency Proposal

August 3, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will hold two hearings this month to receive input on proposed regulations that address greenhouse gas (GHG) and fuel efficiency requirements for new heavy duty vehicles.  The rules, when finalized, will take effect starting in 2018 for trailers and 2021 for engines and trucks and phase-in over a ten year period.  See the article EPA and NHTSA Propose Heavy Duty GHG and FE Regulations for additional details.  The hearings will be held August 6 in Chicago, Illinois, and August 18 in Long Beach, California.  NGVAmerica members are encouraged to contact us with your views and input relating to this rulemaking.  Additional information on this rulemaking as well as the time and specific location of the hearings can be found by following the link below.  The agencies also have indicated that the timing of the hearings requires that the comment period in this rulemaking be extended to September 17.  The proposed regulations and other materials related to this rulemaking are available here.

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


Free FMCSA Course: Leak Detection in Natural Gas and Propane CMVs

July 29, 2015

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has developed a free online training course on leak detection in CNG-powered commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The course is designed to help you become familiar with the unique characteristics and leak properties of natural gas fuels, list the major components of the fuel system and the places most likely to leak, detect fuel leaks, and know what to do if a vehicle has a fuel leak.

Unlike a conventional diesel fuel leak, a natural gas leak may not be detected by the human senses for several reasons.  Thus, a combustible gas detector or bubble leak test is necessary to confirm a leak of natural gas or propane. While this course was designed for CMV inspectors, it may be useful to owners or operators of natural gas CMVs, or others who may be exposed to these types of vehicles.

This course, available on the FMCSA website, is approximately two hours in length and includes two modules with content, graphic displays and a video demonstration of selected detectors.


Republic Expands Natural Gas-Powered Fleet Serving Denver

July 29, 2015

Republic Services has added 17 CNG solid waste collection trucks to its fleet serving customers throughout the greater Denver area in Colorado. The CNG trucks replace older diesel-powered trucks, and bring the total number of natural gas trucks operated by Republic throughout Colorado to 82.

“This fleet expansion represents a significant investment in cleaner, safer and more efficient vehicles locally,” said Tim Oudman, area president of Republic Services.

Republic Services operates a natural gas fueling station at its Commerce City location to support its expanding Denver-based CNG fleet. One-third of Republic’s fleet serving the greater Denver metropolitan area is now powered by the domestic fuel source.

Nationwide, Republic Services operates a fleet of more than 2,200 CNG vehicles and 38 natural gas fueling stations. Republic’s CNG fleet helps to save roughly 18 million gallons of diesel fuel annually. As the operator of the 8th largest vocational fleet in the country, Republic has a number of initiatives to reduce overall fuel usage, including its continued commitment to operating CNG powered trucks.


For more information, visit Republic’s Blue Planet sustainability initiative page.


Cummins Westport ISB6.7 G Natural Gas Engine Showcased for School Bus Market

July 28, 2015

Cummins Westport introduced the 2016 ISB6.7 G, a 6.7L MidRange, factory-built, dedicated natural gas engine, to the Type C School bus market at the North American School Bus Show last week in Reno, Nevada.

The ISB6.7 G natural gas engine is based on the Cummins ISB6.7 diesel engine platform, which is part of Cummin’s MidRange engine family and a top-selling engine in the school bus market. The ISB6.7 G is fueled by CNG or LNG, utilizing Cummins Westport’s proprietary spark-ignited, stoichiometric combustion with cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (SEGR) technology. Currently in field trials, the ISB6.7 G will be in full production by mid-2016.

An important feature of the ISB6.7 G is Three-Way Catalyst (TWC) after-treatment, which is packaged as a muffler, and is maintenance-free. No Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) or Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) after-treatment will be required.

Preliminary specifications include a range of ratings up to 260 hp and 660 lb-ft torque, and automatic transmission capability, to meet customer and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements. The ISB6.7 G will be manufactured at the Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant in Whitakers, North Carolina. The ISB6.7 G will be certified at launch to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Air Resources Board (CARB) emissions standards and fuel-economy regulations.

“We are pleased to display the ISB6.7 G to pupil transportation professionals from across the United States and worldwide here at the STN Expo,” said Rob Neitzke, President of Cummins Westport.


Greenkraft Modifies a Heavy Duty Sweeper Truck to Natural Gas in California

Greenkraft, a California based manufacturer of alternative fuel trucks and alternative fuel systems, has modified a NiteHawk sweeper truck with a Greenkraft alternative fuel system. The heavy-duty sweeper, which is unique in that it has steering on both sides of the truck, was fitted with a 60 GGE fuel system. The sweeper will be used by a California municipality.


Patriot CNG Breaks Ground on Station for Florida Utility

Patriot CNG, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, has broken ground on a new fast-fill CNG station for Florida City Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Atlanta-based AGL Resources. The new CNG station is to be constructed at Florida City Gas’ Brevard County, Florida, service facility and will supply CNG fuel for the utility’s fleet of service vehicles. The CNG station will feature four lanes and ANGI Energy Systems’ NG 300ES compressors. Florida City Gas is slated to have 48 CNG vehicles in service by 2017.

“Not only will it be able to accommodate our CNG fleet, but the facility also will serve the public if enough interest is generated,” said Carolyn Bermudez, general manager and vice president of Florida City Gas. “The demand for natural gas is growing, and Florida City Gas is prepared to meet the needs of its customers.”


Trillium CNG Inks Deal With Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority

July 29, 2015

Trillium CNG has signed a letter of agreement to design, build, operate and maintain a CNG fueling station for the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) in Buffalo, New York. NFTA is the public transit provider serving Erie and Niagara counties in New York. The new CNG fueling facility will feature two 250-hp compressors, producing 700 standard cubic feet per minute, with options for up to three more. The station will allow for fueling from four dispensers.

The new CNG station will be located at the NFTA Frontier Bus Garage in Buffalo and, under the agreement, will be maintained by Trillium CNG for ten years. Trillium CNG and NFTA expect to break ground in August with the station fully operational by the end of 2015. The NFTA operates a fleet of about 332 transit buses with over 4,400 bus stops serviced.


Penske Opens CNG Friendly Truck Facilities in Alabama

July 24, 2015

Penske Truck Leasing has formally opened a full-service facility in the Birmingham suburb of Alabaster, Alabama. The new facility provides full-service truck leasing, consumer and commercial truck rental and contract truck fleet maintenance services. The 8,480 sq. ft. facilities is housed on 4.7 acres, features two truck service bays and a wash bay, and is designed to perform maintenance on CNG vehicles.

The company will be hiring several new truck maintenance technicians and management trainees to staff the location. Interested candidates can apply online at www.GoPenske.com/careers.


Quantum Launches New Back-of-Cab CNG Fuel Module

July 30, 2015

Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies has completed and launched a new three-tank back-of-cab CNG module with a configuration that can be configured for 160 or 180 DGEs in a single package and incorporates a 30-inch diameter storage tank. UPS is the first customer of Quantum’s early production Q-Cab160 series and recently took delivery of early-production systems for installation on Kenworth T680 series tractors.

“We are pleased to have UPS take advantage of our latest technology and system designs, enabling them to reduce weight and drive efficiency through their delivery fleet,” said Brian Olson, President and CEO of Quantum.


Agility Fuel Systems Announces CEO Transition

July 28, 2015

Agility Fuel Systems announced that Barry Engle has accepted an Executive Vice President position with General Motors and will depart from his post as CEO of Agility. He will, however, continue to serve on Agility’s Board of Directors. The Board is thoughtfully considering succession plans and has initiated a CEO search process. Bill Nowicke, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, has been named the interim-CEO of the Company and will work with Barry to ensure a smooth transition. Mr. Engle will remain both a member of Agility’s Board of Directors and a shareholder of the company.

“He guided the company through a period of rapid growth, assembled a fantastic team and built a great foundation for continued success,” said Mike Gallagher, Agility’s Chairman of the Board. “We appreciate the leadership, passion, and vision which he has brought to Agility.”

In his new role at General Motors, Mr. Engle will become a member of the GM Executive Leadership Team and serve as President, South America with responsibility for operations in Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.


Fuel Systems Solutions’ MTM Signs Exclusive Contract with Eni, S.p.A.

July 30, 2015

MTM, a fully owned subsidiary of Fuel Systems Solutions, through its CUBOGAS brand of CNG compressors and systems for vehicle refueling, announced it has signed a new exclusive multi-year contract with Eni S.p.A., an Italian multinational oil and gas company headquartered in Rome, to supply and maintain new CNG refueling stations to be constructed in Italy. Under the terms of the contract, over the next three years MTM will supply Eni’s newly constructed natural gas stations with complete plug-and-fill CNG compressors and refueling accessories and will provide station maintenance over the next five years.