WASHINGTON - Domestically produced natural gas, which already fuels fleets across the country, has been left out of the government's proposed rule to reduce emissions and improve fuel efficiency in medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, in spite of the fact that natural gas is the cleanest burning alternative transportation fuel commercially available today, according to NGVAmerica. 

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Transportation today released a 660-page proposed rulemaking that establishes targets for reducing the emissions and increasing the fuel economy beginning with the 2014 model year for three categories of trucks: combination tractors, heavy-duty pickups and vocational vehicles.  The rule includes regulatory incentives for electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, but not for natural gas vehicles. 

 "It is unfortunate and disappointing that this Administration has not included incentives for natural gas powered trucks," said Richard Kolodziej, president of NGVAmerica. "The rules are designed to address the urgent and closely intertwined challenges of dependence on oil, energy security and global climate changes, and natural gas vehicles do just that and more.

 "These vehicles are capable today of delivering greenhouse gas reductions of more than 20 percent compared to petroleum fueled vehicles. And every new dedicated natural gas vehicle that is put into service displaces 100-percent of the petroleum that would otherwise be used."

Unlike other fuel choices, natural gas powered vehicles are readily available today for many medium and heavy-duty vehicle applications.  Waste collection and transfer vehicles, for example, now account for about 11 percent of total vehicular natural gas use, are the fastest growing natural gas vehicle segment.

"In the weeks ahead, NGVAmerica  will be working with its members and others in the natural gas industry to ensure that EPA is aware of the benefits of natural gas trucks and includes a stronger role for them in its final rule," said Kolodziej.

The two agencies have set January 3, 2011 as the deadline for comments on the proposed rule.