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Florida incentives bill promotes natural gas vehicle usage

The Florida Chapter of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA FL) contributed to the passage of a bill promoting use of natural gas fuel in vehicles in the Florida Legislature.

The legislation – H.B. 579, cosponsored by Rep. Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville) and Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-New Port Richey) – creates incentives for companies to begin using natural gas-powered vehicle fleets.

The bill includes several provisions recommended by the NSWMA FL, including a lower tax rate of $.21 for natural gas fuel ($.10 lower than diesel fuel) beginning in 2019 and an economic impact study of the new rate by the Florida Office of Policy, Program and Governmental Accountability.

The NSWMA FL also recommended the state provide incentives for vehicle fleets to convert to natural gas. H.B. 579 creates a rebate program administered by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, to be funded at $6 million for 5 years. Under the program, companies wishing to expand their fleets using natural gas vehicles can apply for rebates of up to $25,000 per vehicle, totaling up to $250,000 per year.

The bill also includes a 35 percent tax refund for vehicles with power take-off functions, and natural gas fuel will not be taxed for a period of 5 years.