Natural Gas Trucks’ State of Union Mention Trumped in Las Vegas
As Obama Extols Clean Energy Fuels and UPS, Calls for Tax Breaks
There, in shirtsleeves in front of a Clean Energy Fuels LNG trailer, Obama said that the U.S. has 100 years’ worth of natural gas that could support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade.
Natural gas vehicles got a double shot in the arm from Barack Obama last week as the U.S. president mentioned NGVs first in the widely viewed State of the Union Address on Tuesday, then topped it with a Thursday visit to a Kenworth T800 LNG truck-housing facility operated by UPS in Las Vegas.
“We, it turns out, are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas,” Obama said.
His appearance came just after Clean Energy released details (direct PDF link) of the first full year phase of its “America’s Natural Gas Highway” project, targeting 70 liquefied natural gas fueling stations at truck stops this year, 80 more in 2013 (F&F, Jan. 16) and “hundreds of these,” according to president and CEO Andrew Littlefair, “over the next three to four years.”
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“Let’s get more of these natural gas vehicles on the road,” Obama said. “Let’s offer new tax incentives to help companies buy more clean trucks like these.”Obama praised UPS “for being the best in its space, one of the best businesses we have.” UPS operates 82 LNG-fueled and Westport-powered Kenworth T800s, which have now begun fueling at a long-awaited Clean Energy station off I-215 in Las Vegas.
“Let’s make sure all these new trucks that are running on natural gas have places to refuel,” he added. “We’re going to keep working with the private sector,” Obama said, on corridor fueling projects “just like the one that folks at UPS, South Coast Air and Clean Energy Fuels are opening today between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.”
More DoE Support
Obama called on the Energy Department to launch a new competition encouraging “scientists and engineers and entrepreneurs to discover new breakthroughs” for NGVs.
Clean Energy boss Littlefair thanked the president in a follow-up release. Clean Energy noted that it owns the land under the new Las Vegas LNG facility and built the station with its own capital and funding from the federal government’s ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) program, delivered through SCAQMD, the South Coast Air Quality Management District. NGVAmerica hailed the president’s Las Vegas appearance, too.
Obama promised to foster the safe development of shale gas, and to open up some 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for energy exploration and development.