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May 7, 2015 8:00 PM, EDT

Texas Lawmaker Backs State Programs That Promote Natural Gas, Alternative Fuels

Michael G. Malloy/Transport Topics

DALLAS — A Texas state lawmaker said he backs incentives that increase the use of natural gas and other alternative transportation fuels.

“We’re always going to have gasoline and diesel vehicles, but looking at alternative clean forms of transportation is the right thing to do,” Jason Isaac said May 7 at the ACT Expo here.

“We’re reducing the costs of those vehicles to spur economic development in Texas and use our alternative fuels that we have so much of,” said Isaac, a Republican who represents parts of two central Texas counties.

The Texas Legislature debated several bills this week, including one that would reduce the per-gallon state fuel tax on liquefied natural gas, he said.

The state’s current tax on LNG and compressed natural gas, at 15 cents per gallon equivalent, are a nickel below its diesel and gasoline taxes.

If the bill becomes law, LNG-fueled vehicles will have a 20-cents-per-gallon tax discount. “I think that’s a great advantage to have,” Isaac said, joking that “I’m one of the crazy Republicans who actually cares about the environment.”

The Texas Emissions Reduction Plan, or TERP, gives about $77 million in incentive grants for new natural-gas transportation vehicles, to convert older diesels or build fueling infrastructure in the Texas Triangle among Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, he said.

Isaac said he backs a state Senate bill that would expand that area to high-freight-shipping areas such as Laredo, McAllen and Corpus Christi, as well as a House bill that would expand grants for electric and smaller natural-gas vehicles to $5,000 from $2,500.