Companion bills in the Florida legislature would tax providers of natural gas as a transportation fuel, rather than taxing natural gas vehicle (NGV) operators as is currently done. The measures would enact a 4-cent tax/motor fuel gallon equivalent of natural gas.
In the House, state Rep. Lake Ray is sponsoring HB 579 to replace the state’s current system of charging operators of NGVs for decals required to purchase natural gas for vehicle fueling — either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). Ray’s bill would eliminate the decal system and instead, the facilities selling natural gas as a vehicular fuel would pay the 4-cent tax.
Legislative staff have calculated that after an initial revenue dip for the state, the new tax would net an additional $440,000 in increased annual revenues. Ray said the new tax would capture revenue from more out-of-state trucks using natural gas.
HB 579 has passed out of all four necessary committees by unanimous votes, Ray said. The Senate version (HB 560) by state Sen. Wilton Simpson has passed out of two committees and reportedly has one more committee hurdle to clear.
Both bills are touted as an extension of actions by Florida lawmakers last year, when they directed the state Department of Transportation to prepare a “freight mobility plan” to move goods around and through the state. As part of that plan, state transportation officials were directed to develop policies that “increase the implementation of CNG, LNG and propane” for transportation.
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