Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Will NAT GAS Act Cross Finish Line?

The long-awaited legislation to promote natural gas use in vehicles was temporarily stalled by its sponsor Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) as he negotiates for more bipartisan support to get the bill passed.  With the tumult in Congress after the recent elections and the other priorities of the lame duck session that started this week, the NGV legislation is the only energy bill with a hope of passing.

While Reid is working to get more Republicans on board, he is also getting push-back from within his own party.  Among the offenders is Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa who wants to add support for biofuels to the bill.  Adding ethanol to a bill about natural gas would be a travesty, a classic two steps forward, one step back move.  Hopefully Harkin's vote won't be needed to pass the bill.

Unfortunately, as politicians start to focus on the 2012 election cycle, prospective presidential candidates will start to visit Iowa again (Newt Gingrich is there this week) and fall under the spell of converting perfectly good food into vehicle fuel.  Of late, the ethanol folks have been pushing for an E-15 standard to increase the potential ethanol component in gasoline from 10% to 15%.  The attempts failed after the 2008 election was over, but the campaign likely will get more attention with 2012 coming.

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