There is currently no national standard for dispensing liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a motor fuel. In July, the National Conference of Weights and Measures (NCWM) will consider requiring retail natural gas dispensers to use kilograms as the primary unit of sale for liquefied natural gas (LNG). The same regulators and officials advocating for that approach are encouraging that CNG no longer be sold in gasoline gallon equivalents as well.
This would be a drastic departure from the current practice of using diesel gallon equivalents (DGE) for the sale of LNG, since it primarily competes with diesel fuel for trucking. Requiring LNG to be sold by the kilogram will confuse consumers and stall the growing momentum behind natural gas as a transportation fuel. The United States is seeing significant investments in NGVs as LNG refueling infrastructure has grown by 153 percent since 2009.
The reasons for adopting natural gas as a vehicle fuel are clear: it is a more affordable and cleaner alternative to diesel. LNG is 26 percent cheaper than diesel on an energy equivalent basis. Switching to natural gas from diesel to fuel medium- and heavy-duty vehicles reduces tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent, and substantially reduces emissions of pollutants that harm air quality.
The U.S. House of Representatives, led by Reps. Lee Terry (R-NE) and John Larson (D-CT), has sent a letter to NCWM urging them to pursue a dispensing standard that makes sense for both the industry and NGV customers.
U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD), are circulating a similar Dear Colleague. Senators who wish to sign on must contact the offices of Senators Klobuchar or Thune.
The bottom line is we need common sense standards to assure a level playing field for all transportation fuels. Using energy equivalent units like the DGE and GGE for the sale of natural gas fuels is the best means of doing so. It is incumbent upon our leaders to allow this marketplace to operate freely, giving consumers the opportunity to choose a cleaner, cheaper, domestic alternative to gasoline.
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