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Picture of Utah
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Matheson touts bill to promote natural gas vehicles

The Salt Lake Tribune
Paul Beebe
April 22, 2011

Utah Congressman Jim Matheson replaces the natural gas fuel pump after refueling a NGV with the help of the car's owner. Matheson held a press conference at Flying J natural gas refueling station on 2100 South on Thursday April 21, 2011, to promote legislation that would give tax credits and incentives to NGV production and refueling stations.

A bipartisan bill in Congress to jump-start the production and use of natural gas-powered vehicles is the best way for America to reduce its dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse emissions, Utah Rep. Jim Matheson said Thursday.

“This is a winner for our country if we move this way,” said Matheson, a Democrat and co-sponsor of a bill called the Nat Gas Act, introduced two weeks ago by Rep. John Sullivan, R-Okla.

The bill would provide a five-year extension of the tax credit on natural gas fuel, new credits for the purchase and production of natural gas vehicles, and a credit for building natural gas refueling stations, Matheson said during a news conference at a Flying J natural gas fueling station in Salt Lake City.

The bill has broad bipartisan support in Congress. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is another co-sponsor. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, co-sponsors the Senate version.

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner also have expressed support for the legislation.

“In an era where it’s easy to get worried about $4 gas and all the bad news that’s out there, here is some good news,” Matheson said.

“The good news is natural gas is a plentiful domestic resource that can make a difference for our country and it can make a difference really quickly,” he said.

Natural gas convert Hazen Watson said the widespread use of the fuel to power cars and trucks is an idea whose time has come

“If you live in Salt Lake City, there’s no reason not to (have a natural gas-powered truck or car), in my view,” said Watson, whose Chevrolet Cavalier passenger car and Ford Windstar minivan are “bifuel” vehicles that can burn compressed natural gas and traditional gasoline.

There are 32 natural gas stations in Utah — more per capita than any other state, according to the Utah Clean Cities Coalition. More than half are along the Wasatch Front.

On Thursday, the price for 5.66 pounds of compressed natural gas — which would be the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline — was $1.30 at the Flying J station. “That is one-third of what you pay for normal gas,” said Watson. He figures he saves $700 to $800 a year per vehicle.

Matheson said U.S. natural gas reserves are enough to last at least 118 years.

“By diversifying our vehicle fleets and using natural gas as a transportation fuel, we can significantly reduce our demand for foreign oil, and do so immediately,” he said.

If the bill becomes law, it would create jobs and help clean the air because natural gas produces roughly 95 percent fewer pollutants than gasoline or diesel fuel when burned, he said.

Provisions of the bill include:

Extending until Dec. 31, 2016, the current federal tax credit of 50 cents per 121 cubic feet of compressed natural gas and 50 cents per gallon of liquified natural gas.

Restoring and extending until Dec. 31, 2016, the expired federal tax credit for purchasing a natural gas-powered vehicle. The credit for buying a light vehicle is $4,000 (also available is a Utah tax credit of $2,500).

Source: Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah

Why use natural gas-powered vehicles?

• A new one costs about $7,000 more than a gasoline-powered vehicle, but federal and state tax credits offset most of the additional cost.

• The U.S. has more than a 100-year supply of natural gas.

• Using more natural gas could help reduce the 11 million barrels a day that the U.S. imports.

• Gasoline is approaching $4 per gallon; natural gas for vehicles is about $1.30 for the equivalent energy content.

Copyright 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune.

Article Link

Bringing Natural Gas to Utah

ABC 4 News
Shanell Poulson
Apr 21, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 News) - Utah Congressman Jim Matheson is excited about expanding natural gas outlets in our state.

Matheson is one of 157 bipartisan cosponsors of The Natural Gas Act, which he hopes will help Utah consumers at the pump.

He says natural gas is cleaner, cheaper and more importantly it's a local fuel.

The act aims to help break the reliance on foreign oil and pave the way for a cleaner environment.

Natural gas only costs about a $1.25 a gallon.

©1998 - 2013 abc4.com

To view photos from the event, see here.