Natural Gas Vehicles: Free-Market Capitalism at Work

With most of Washington focused on the debt ceiling, the NAT GAS Act (HR1380) has faded into the background – just one of hundreds of big-government bills waiting to become a law.  But while Washington bickers over which industries to subsidize, an amazing thing is happening: domestic demand for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) is growing.

As the trade group Natural Gas Vehicles for America – a big booster of the NAT GAS Act – freely acknowledges, there are 110,000 NGVs in the United States.  A drop in the bucket?  Sure.  But demand is on the rise, all without the egregious handouts promised by the NAT GAS Act.

As Heritage Action’s COO Tim Chapman pointed out in an op-ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Ford is running with a new line of natural gas powered taxis.  And just this year, “hundreds of taxis, powered by compressed natural gas, will pop up around the country: 120 Ford Transit Connects in the Los Angeles area, 70 in Connecticut.  Las Vegas, St. Louis, and Philadelphia will also see their own fleet of Transit Connects soon.”

It’s not just taxis, though.  Earlier this month, Ryder, a leader in commercial transportation, announced new lease agreements with customers for 87 heavy-duty natural gas trucks.  The article notes that UPS, which has been using NVGs since 1989, has more than 1,300 such delivery trucks.  AT&T has nearly 3,000 NGVs, and plans to purchase up to 8,000 more.

And it’s not just Ford, either.  Earlier this month, General Motors entered into an agreement with Westport Innovations to create a passenger car that runs on natural gas.  What is GM’s angle?  A natural gas powered Chevy Cruze to compete with Honda’s Civic GX, which is the only commercially available passenger car that runs on natural gas.


But the infrastructure!  Where are we going to get the danged infrastructure so people can fill their new NGVs, you ask.  How about the natural gas industry?  Don’t laugh, because it’s happening.

Chesapeake Energy, a major producer of natural gas and supporter of the NAT GAS Act, plans to invest $1 billion over 10 years to spur demand.  One of its first investments will be natural gas fueling stations scattered across our nation’s highways.

And what is Chesapeake’s angle?  They have more natural gas than demand.  Building the infrastructure to support natural gas vehicles will make it easier to refuel NGVs and thus increase demand for natural gas fuel.  That in turn, would increase the price of natural gas.  The real kicker from the article is that modest increases in natural gas prices would boost Chesapeake’s annual net income by nearly $1 billion.  Pretty good motivation, huh?

If Congress weren’t so busy meddling, they might notice free market capitalism is working.  It’s time to scrap the NAT GAS Act





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4 thoughts on “Natural Gas Vehicles: Free-Market Capitalism at Work

  1. The problem is that allowing the free market to work unfettered by profit defeating restrictions and regulations would undermine Obama’s plans to destroy the U. S.

    Look for major Democrat interference with the free market on this one.

    • Strange how the Republicans just shot down a bill that would have ended ethanol and oil subsidies and tax credits.

      Hypocrisy and propaganda at the hands…er, wallets of the Kock brothers.

  2. When you look into this the majority of the congressman against it are in the pockets of big oil. The natural gas act would help quickly develop our ability to utilize a much cheaper fuel source in the U.S. Natural Gas. Instead of paying billions of dollars a year to OPEC oil companies we would be paying those billions to companies within the U.S. which would create an estimated 500,000 jobs which all would be taxed and the money they earned would support other companies that in turn would be taxed again. The amount of money that would stay at home and flow through our country would by far outweigh the subsidy provided to the companies that construct the fueling stations and purchase the vehicles. The environment would also see a large benefit due to the less polluting affects of burning nat gas instead of petro. The amount of money that big oil has to put a bad spin on this has created all of us naieve americans to believe this is a bad thing when it would go down in history as one of the smartest things that we did in America. By having another option other than oil would increase competitiveness so that people have a choice. Everybody is so worried that somebody might benefit from something that they do not see how it would help our economy.

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