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New Oklahoma Laws Promote NatGas Vehicles

A trio of energy bills signed into law Monday by Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry will help ensure that the state stays at the front of the nation's alternative energy debate, according to Oklahoma House Speaker Chris Benge (R-Tulsa), who introduced the bills.

Included in the new laws are incentives to promote the use of vehicles powered by compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG) and electricity.

"Our state has a long-standing energy history in this country, and those dynamics will only continue with legislation like this in law," Benge said. "These bills have positioned our state to play a vital role in producing domestic energy sources that will spur economic development locally, all while helping to boost our country's economic and national security."

The last of the bills to be signed by Henry, HB 1949, extends for five years an existing tax credit to buyers of vehicles powered by CNG, LNG or electricity. The credit is equal to 50% of the cost of conversion of a vehicle to operate on a qualified fuel, as well as those originally equipped to do so. The legislation includes a tax credit for businesses seeking to build infrastructure to fuel the vehicles, along with a $2,500 tax credit for consumers installing home-fueling stations. House lawmakers last month passed the bill by a wide margin (see Daily GPI, May 14).

Also signed into law was HB 1952, which allows the state's Department of Central Services to provide alternative fuel vehicle fleet services to schools and county and municipal governments, and provide public access to alternative fueling infrastructure in underserved areas. Loans of up to $300,000 from a state fleet management fund will be available for construction of alternative fueling stations. The legislation also replaces the state's use of California Air Resources Board emission limits with emissions standards put in place by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, a change Benge said will make conversions easier and less cost-prohibitive.

Benge said the third bill, HB 1953, will attract wind energy companies to Oklahoma by making them eligible for financial incentives through the state's Quality Jobs Act.

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