A bill (HB 1324) recently approved by the Indiana House and now being considered by the state Senate would provide an income tax credit for large natural gas-fueled trucks and would impose a motor carrier fuel tax on natural gas equivalent to rates already imposed on gasoline.

By making compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles more appealing to commercial fleet operators, the bill’s author, Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) hopes to also prompt the construction of CNG fueling stations across the state.

“As we strive for energy independence, we need to look at innovative ways to distribute alternative fuels without sacrificing cost savings or efficiency,” Frye said. “I strongly believe that compressed natural gas is a viable alternative to our traditional motor fuels.”

HB 1324 would provide an income tax credit of about $18,000 for vehicles weighing at least 33,000 pounds. It also would increase the maximum weight limitation for natural gas vehicles by 2,000 pounds.

The legislation was passed by the House in a unanimous 94-0 vote in February. A Senate vote on the bill is expected this week.

Frye has said that CNG could save Indian residents $1.50 or more per gallon compared to oil-based motor fuels.

“CNG provides an opportunity for more jobs to be created and cheaper fuel costs at the pump, a win-win for Hoosiers,” Frye said following the House vote. “Given the new technological advancements in extracting natural gas, it has become more economically feasible and environmentally-friendly to be used as an everyday motor fuel. We have large, plentiful reserves available to us right here in Indiana that can provide another option to gasoline without compromising convenience or productivity.”

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