O’Brien co-sponsors bill backing natural-gas conversion

Associated Press


Two state lawmakers want to offer tax credits to convert cars and trucks to burn both gasoline and natural gas.

Reps. Sean J. O’Brien, a Democrat from Hubbard, and David Hall, a Republican from Millersburg in Holmes County, are preparing legislation to give state tax credits to back conversions or to buy an alternative- fuel option vehicle.

The proposal was developed with the assistance of an industry group.

The measure, which is awaiting introduction, also would create a multimillion- dollar loan program to finance refueling equipment as companies convert fleets of vehicles.

The credit would pay for up to 50 percent of the cost of conversion, which is $5,000 to $10,000 for cars and light-duty trucks and up to $40,000 for large trucks.

According to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, the cost of compressed natural gas is now priced at an average of about $2.00 per gallon, compared with an average gasoline price of $3.50 and diesel closer to $4 per gallon.

At least 11 states, including Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky, have such natural-gas incentive programs.

O’Brien said the incentives would encourage the growing Ohio natural-gas industry emerging from gas-rich shale formations. Ohio shale-gas production is in its beginning stages but is expected to grow substantially in 2014 and 2015.

O’Brien said that the proposed tax credits would disappear after five years. Also, over those five years, the state’s gasoline road tax gradually would be applied to compressed natural gas purchases, up to 28 cents for the amount of CNG equal to a gallon of gasoline.

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