Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead on Wednesday signed two laws that are designed to help advance the use of natural gas for transportation in a state rich in gas reserves. The measures, Senate Files (SF) 23 and 52, were less than the industry originally requested.

SF 52 would require that state agencies, the University of Wyoming and community colleges buy at least one-half of their replacement fleet vehicles from those that operate on compressed natural gas (CNG). Schools or agencies may waive the CNG vehicle obligation, however, if buying the natural gas vehicles (NGV) proves to be infeasible or economically impractical.

SF 23 allows businesses to apply for loans of up to $1 million as long as it is not more than 75% of the cost to install NGV fueling facilities. The original bill also would have provided two years of interest-free payments.

Amended bills passed both houses of the state legislature earlier in February.

NGV advocates in Wyoming said most fueling equipment for CNG dispensing costs $750,000 to $1.2 million, so a straight cap at $1 million without a percentage requirement would have been preferred. CNG vehicle advocates said they would have liked more expansive legislation, but “momentum” continues to build for NGVs, they told reporters.

The head of the Wyoming Petroleum Marketing Association told reporters that a watered-down bill most likely would mean that possible station operators may have to team up with a gas industry partner. Officials with Encana Corp., which has a big leasehold in Wyoming natural gas reserves, indicated that they would be willing to partner in fueling ventures; the producer already is advancing NGV use in North America and uses NGVs in some of its onshore operations.

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