Do We Need the NAT GAS Act? (Uh…NO!)

In the rush to create jobs, Congress tends to do some rather ridiculous things (think stimulus).  One of the ideas that continues to float around Washington is the NAT GAS Act (H.R.1380).  It would provide a host of generous tax subsidies to encourage the production, purchase and use of natural gas vehicles.  Those subsidies include up to a $100,000 credit for installation of a commercial fueling station.  Do we really need the NAT GAS Act’s subsidies to stimulate natural gas infrastructure investment?

 The answer appears to be a resounding noGreenCar.com reports:

Some 150 strategic truck stop locations in the U.S. will offer natural gas fueling because of a $150 million investment that Chesapeake Energy is making in Clean Energy Fuels Corp. This is a seemingly critical step forward in pushing natural gas fuel ever further toward the mainstream… 

The aim is to provide natural gas fueling along major trucking corridors to create the backbone of what’s being billed as ‘America’s Natural Gas Highway.’

You read that right.  Chesapeake Energy is investing in natural gas infrastructure without the handouts promised by the NAT GAS Act.  Of course, Chesapeake is supportive of proposal, which is based off T. Boone Pickens’ plan.  But as we’ve pointed out before, many supporters of the proposal would benefit directly from the handout.

It is telling that Chesapeake is willing to make this investment at a time when the NAT GAS Act is losing support.  Given that Chesapeake’s profits nearly doubled last quarter, one could reasonably infer they are making the investment because they see a long term benefit to their bottom line.  And there is nothing wrong with that – after all, this is still America! 

As Heritage Action and The Heritage Foundation have consistently pointed out, the NAT GAS Act distorts the market by picking winners and losers, isn’t necessary and, in fact, is counterproductive.  Chesapeake is demonstrating the market can develop, grow and mature without yet another federal handout from Washington.

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