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Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker
The recently-released Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker ( http://www.aeltracker.org/) allows users to find and track advanced energy legislation at the state level. The site is searchable by state, policy category (including transportation, emissions, and financing and financial incentives), keyword, bill number, and/or sponsor. Search results include information that you would typically find on a state legislature website (bill sponsor, recent actions, a link to bill text) in a concise and consistent format.
The Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker is a good compliment to the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) Federal & State Laws & Incentives database ( http://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/). While the AFDC provides summaries of the incentives, laws, regulations, and programs that are in place, the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker shows legislation currently under consideration. As such, both tools are useful as background for conversations with your state legislators, stakeholders, and others about alternative fuel and advanced vehicle policies and incentives.
Note that presently the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker is only updated periodically (the current database contains bills introduced prior to March 1st).
Indiana & Colorado Governor’s Sign Pro-NGV Measures
(Source: NGV America)
This week, Governors in Indiana and Colorado signed legislation that will help propel increased use of natural gas as a transportation fuel. In Indiana, Governor Mike Pence signed Public Law No. 277-2013 (HB 1324). The measure includes a new 50 percent tax credits for heavy-duty natural gas vehicles (i.e. greater than 33,000 lbs.). The credit is worth up to $15,000 per truck, and individuals or companies may receive up to $150,000 in credits each year. The incentive is available for three years, 2014–2016. Like other states, the measure includes an annual cap ($3.0 million) and an overall cap ($9.0 million) in the amount of tax credits that may be granted. The measure also enacts a new motor fuels tax for CNG and LNG to ensure that these fuels are taxed on an energy equivalent basis with other fuels. The law directs state authorities to impose the tax on CNG based on the energy content in gasoline and to tax LNG based on the energy content in diesel fuel, or per diesel gallon equivalent. Another provision in the bill ups the weight allowance for natural gas trucks by 2,000 pounds. There also is a provision that amends existing alternative fuel vehicles purchase requirements for state agencies. Under existing law, a state fleet is exempted from purchasing clean-fuel vehicles if they cost 10 percent more than a comparable vehicle. The change would adjust the amount upward to 20 percent, thus raising the bar for exemptions. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed bills adjusting the state excise tax on CNG and LNG and also extending until 2021 the availability of tax credits for alternative fuel vehicles. HB 1110 repeals the current decal tax on CNG and LNG and phases-in new motor fuel tax rates over a six-year period. The measure also exempts home fueling of natural gas through June 30, 2017. The phase-in rates for CNG are as follows: 2014, 3 cents; 2015, 6 cents; 2016, 9 cents; 2017, 12 cents; 2018, 15 cents; 2019, 18 3/10 cents, thereafter. For LNG, the phase-in tracks the same years but with the following rates: 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 12 cents thereafter. The law takes effect January 1, 2014. The law imposes the CNG tax based on the unit used by the IRS for a gasoline gallon equivalent (i.e.126.67 cubic feet) and directs state authorities to conduct a rulemaking to define a gallon of LNG. The lower tax rate imposed on LNG already factored in its lower heating content relative to a gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel. HB 1247 also signed this week, extends through 2021 the tax credits currently available for NGVs. The tax credits extend to vehicles having a gross vehicle weight of up to 26,000 lbs. Credits are worth up to $6,000 per vehicle. The credits previously expired at the end of 2015.
Northern Colorado Receives Funding for Two New Programs
Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) was recently awarded funding through the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Cities National Parks Initiative. The Clean Cities National Parks Initiative supports transportation projects that educate park visitors on the benefits of reducing dependence on petroleum, cutting greenhouse gases, and easing traffic congestion. With support from the local Clean Cities coalition, Northern Colorado Clean Cities (NCCC), the park is planning to purchase one Toyota Highlander Hybrid and two Chevy Volts, install two electric vehicle charging stations, and expand idle-reduction efforts through technology deployment and a comprehensive education and outreach program. The project is also supporting the “Green our Rides’ effort established within the National Park Services’ Green Parks Plan.
NCCC will also be working with the Colorado Energy Office (CEO), Clean Energy Economy for the Region (CLEER), and other partners on CEO’s new project, Refuel Colorado, also funded by DOE. Refuel Colorado, A Roadmap to Increase Alternative Fuel Use in Colorado will work to add alternative fuel vehicles to State Purchasing Agreements; train and deploy Energy Coaches who will work directly with public and private fleets to assess and successfully implement opportunities for alternative fuel vehicle use; conduct an audit of the State fleet to identify options for alternative fuel vehicle use; and create a stakeholder-driven policy and regulatory roadmap for alternative fuels in Colorado. NCCC staff will act as Energy Coaches for the northern Colorado region.
Northern Colorado Clean Cities Adds Co-Coordinator
Northern Colorado Clean Cities would like to announce the addition of Maria Eisemann as a coalition co-coordinator. Maria will share coordinator duties with current coordinator, Sheble McConnellogue. Many of you have already had the opportunity to meet and work with Maria as she has been working for NCCC over the past year and a half. During this time, Maria's role with NCCC has grown and she has proven to be invaluable to the work the coalition is doing.
Maria brings a wealth of experience to the coalition. She has a B.S. in Industrial Technology from Colorado State University and worked for 7 years at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Washington DC in the Office of Compliance on air regulatory issues, rulemakings, and voluntary compliance incentives. Before and after working at the EPA she worked for the National Center for Vehicle Emissions Control and Safety at Colorado State University on the National Tampering Surveys, On Board Diagnostics research and outreach, and helped to organize the annual National Mobile Sources Clean Air Conference. Maria also spent 2½ years with the US Peace Corps in the Philippines.
We are grateful to have her join NCCC in this more formal capacity. Congratulations Maria!