Earlier this session the House approved Rep. Draxler’s H.B. 96, extending tax credits for CNG vehicles for the next five years. Tax credits for CNG vehicles began in 2009 and since then have boosted what was once an emerging market. Compressed natural gas is a fossil fuel substitute for gasoline. It’s made by compressing natural gas, and is much safer in the event of a spill. The tax credit offered by the state gives you 35% of the purchase price of your CNG vehicle up to $2,500. These CNG tax credits create jobs, infrastructure, and improve air quality.
As part of an long range effort to tackle air quality in Utah, Republican members of Utah’s House and Senate introduced S.B. 275.
Put plainly, it allows local governments to create partnerships to borrow, buy, or bond to either buy new CNG vehicles, or convert their fleets to CNG vehicles. Vehicle conversion prices vary, but in the case of school buses, it costs approximately $30,000 to convert a bus to natural gas. That cost is paid off in about two years, thanks to savings in fuel costs.
Switching to CNG vehicles reduces pollutants. Going back to the case of the school bus, each natural gas bus put on the road, essentially removes the pollution of 15 to 20 gasoline vehicles. This bill also helps finance more natural gas fueling stations and maintenance facilities making it easier and more convenient to drive a CNG vehicle.
Air quality is a complex issue, that requires a practical and sentient legislation. We believe that S.B. 275 is a great start to cleaning up Utah’s air, and facilitating the use of one of Utah’s most abundant resources.