Casey introduces bill to promote clean-energy vehicles

     Propane tanks loaded on an AmeriGas truck at the company's headquarters in King of Prussia, Pa.

    Propane tanks loaded on an AmeriGas truck at the company's headquarters in King of Prussia, Pa.

    A move is under way to encourage the use of “clean-energy” fuels in cars and trucks, but it can’t happen without a better transportation infrastructure in place to support such vehicles.

    That’s according to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey who outlined legislation Monday that would add clean energy fueling stations along U.S. highways and make it easier for alternatively fueled vehicles to get around.

    For Paul Grady, chief operating officer of AmeriGas, the nation’s largest propane gas company, the big problem right now is that propane isn’t easily available to vehicles on the road.

    “We see plenty of filling stations today, but they don’t offer propane,” said Grady. “If we had propane pumps at filling stations across the interstate, then trucks and buses and cars powered by propane would come.”

    Fewer than 300,000 vehicles run on propane in the U.S., compared with 17 million worldwide, according to Grady.

    Grady and other energy executives joined Casey outside the AmeriGas headquarters in King of Prussia, Pa., Monday. Casey stopped by for a tour of two AmeriGas propane vehicles. 

    Casey said his bill, the Clean Vehicle Corridors Act, would allow the Department of Transportation to create “clean vehicle corridors” along U.S. highways.

    He said doing so — and making domestically produced propane more widely available — would be an economic boon for the country. Pennsylvania, where there’s an abundance of the natural gas, would especially benefit.

    “We know we’ll be able to create jobs, new industries, reduce the cost of manufacturing,” said Casey. “So at the end of the road here, this is about jobs — jobs for Pennsylvania and throughout the country.”

    Casey hopes the legislation, along with another bill he sponsored to extend tax credits for clean-energy vehicles, will spur demand for and manufacturing of propane-run vehicles in the U.S. and decrease the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

     

    Editor’s Note:  In a previous version of this article the number of vehicles that run on propane worldwide was incorrect.  There are about 17 million vehicles worldwide that run on propane. 

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