Natural gas is a clean, abundant, domestic natural resource, so it only makes sense that Americans should be turning to this as an alternative to oil and gasoline. Although natural gas vehicles are being manufactured, they are not catching on like other alternative fuels such as electric. Could this be because the government is once again playing favorites against domestic resources?
One of the ways in which the market is being manipulated to the detriment of natural gas vehicles is through taxation. Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), for example, is taxed at the same rate as diesel, but contains less energy. This is, essentially, a surcharge or penalty on using a cleaner domestic fuel. This is also exemplified in the case of hauling penalties. Traditional refrigerated trucks are exempt from taxation on the additional weight of the cooling systems, but this does break on excess weight does not extend to natural gas vehicles.
America is well behind other countries when it comes to natural gas vehicles (NGVs). There are 12 million being driven around the world, but only 120,000 are in the United States. “Without question, natural gas will allow our country to transition our transportation system away from expensive and carbon-heavy gasoline and diesel towards carbon-light, affordable American produced natural gas,” said Aubrey K. McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy.
It is already more expensive to drive a vehicle fueled by alternative energy, so every step we can take to make it more cost effective opens up more markets. However, they do not do so. Essentially, the purchase of these vehicles is being punished by the government. We must pressure our legislators to remove hurdles which favor some energies over other so that the market may decide what type of energy should fuel the future.