The natural gas vehicle (NGV) sector was one part of the economy that benefited from Congress’ fiscal cliff action on Tuesday, gaining new life from the extension of clean vehicle tax incentives.

While it is a plus for NGV expansion, it was also welcomed by competing clean fuels, such as biodiesel and propane. Nevertheless, for the gas transportation fuel sector it was truly a “Happy New Year,” as NGVAmerica President Richard Kolodziej declared in a special bulletin to his members Tuesday.

“A really great start to 2013,” said Kolodziej, who outlined benefits for both the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) in vehicles.

The NGV sector retained a 50-cent/gallon or gallon equivalent tax credit and a $30,000 infrastructure tax credit, both of which were made retroactive to last year. Kolodziej contends for LNG the tax credit helps “compensate” for a “federal LNG tax penalty.”

He reiterated that eliminating the penalty for LNG, which relates to its lower per-gallon energy content relative to diesel, is “high on our congressional agenda” this year.

“For CNG, the fuel tax credit will increase NGVs’ economic advantage and help accelerate the industry’s ability to displace foreign oil,” Kolodziej said.

Seal Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels said Congress’ latest action will “accelerate” natural gas use in transportation, adding more vehicles that can operate in more of an environmentally and economically beneficial manner.

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