A coalition of 24 states is challenging the Trump administration's edict that states may not set individual vehicle fuel standards, which so far is not impacting the natural gas sector.

In a long-standing game of political hardball, California officials are leading the coalition in a lawsuit resisting the Trump administration's decision to remove states’ rights to set transportation fuel standards that are more stringent than federal rules. The Trump administration is arguing states may not dictate the kind of vehicles Americans can buy.

The natural gas vehicle (NGV) sector is not directly impacted, but it is monitoring how the legal battle unfolds.

NGVAmerica President Daniel Gage told NGI last Friday he is concerned about a growing imbalance in government incentives for alternative fuel transportation, where electric vehicles (EV) have been given an unfair advantage.

"Existing regulations distort market forces to the detriment of NGVs," Gage said. Original equipment manufacturers in the auto industry need "the same motivation to support NGV alternative fuel technologies," which would include renewable natural gas (RNG), as the automakers receive for EVs.

NGV advocates are concerned about mid-term reviews and the Safe Alternative Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) rulemaking, also referred to as the “one national program rule,” ongoing in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

RNG Coalition spokesperson Marcus Gillette said NGVs and RNG as a transportation fuel are inherently a low-emission solution, and "it remains troubling that in this case the current administration is not supportive of lowering emissions."

Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has supported the need for SAFE to assure that auto manufacturers and consumers have consistency in the national vehicle market.

EPA Chief Andrew Wheeler and Chao last week reiterated that they intend to stop California and other states from enforcing more stringent emissions rules and mandates that automakers sell certain numbers of zero-emission vehicles.