NCWM Retains NGVAmerica Supported DGE Proposal as Voting Item
Last week, the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) held its Interim Meeting in San Diego, California. The NCWM moved to retain the diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) proposal as a voting item for this summer’s Annual Meeting. NGVAmerica staff attended the meeting and participated in the open hearing discussion. NGVAmerica staff also attended and presented information to the Subcommittee on Fuels and Lubricants. The presentation included an update on recent data concerning the energy content of natural gas and diesel fuel.
This year’s open session debate was not as contentious as in past years but there continues to be a small contingent of weights and measures officials who strongly oppose not only the DGE proposal but also continued use of the gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE) unit that has been in place since 1994. The officials continue to argue that the method of sale (unit displayed on the pump read-out) for natural gas should be mass (e.g., pounds or kilograms). In the two previous years, the DGE standard was supported by a majority of members of the House of Representatives, a body in which each state gets one vote, but has failed to attract sufficient votes in the House of Delegates. NGVAmerica this year again reiterated its support for the DGE standard and indicated that this support extends to fleets, retailers, and natural gas providers. We also noted that ten states now recognize the DGE standard for selling LNG (many more use it for tax purposes), and indicated that the U.S. Congress recently codified the LNG DGE for taxation purposes.
During the open session hearing, Florida proposed that the NCWM consider an alternative proposal supported by the Southern Weights and Measures Association. That proposal would have required starting in 2020 that all natural gas dispensers selling in gallon equivalent units also display the total mass quantity supplied. As proposed, the requirement would have been prospective only but would have covered fuel dispensers that are upgraded. NGVAmerica commented that it would be important to understand the cost of adding this information to fueling dispensers, and that it also would be important to clarify that the change would not require retailers to display the unit price in mass on the pump, or to have to advertise pricing in mass units. NGVAmerica also suggested that the NCWM consider whether adding the total mass quantity to the receipt would achieve the intended purpose of providing greater clarity and transparency.
Following the open session hearings, the Laws & Regulations and the Specifications & Tolerances Committees met and decided to retain the DGE issue as a voting item. The committees also moved to amend the proposal to stipulate that receipts must show the total mass quantity for sales beginning in 2018. Publication 16 which will be available sometime in the next several months will include the revised proposal.
It is critical that natural gas supporters reach out to state and local officials who are members of NCWM and urge them to support the proposal this summer. The recent changes made to the proposal along with changes made last year increase the chances it will be adopted this year. This year’s Annual Meeting will be held in July in Denver, Colorado. NGVAmerica intends to work with members to make sure that a successful vote occurs this summer. We will reach out to members and trade allies in the coming months to develop a coordinated effort. More details on this effort will be forthcoming in the future.