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GOV. HICKENLOOPER SIGNS NATURAL GAS INCENTIVE BILL INTO LAW

On Friday, Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law HB 1326. The measure, which includes incentives for other alternative fuels, is expected to give NGVs a boost in a state that is already progressively promoting NGVs. The law expands incentives already in place to cover heavy duty vehicles above 26,000 pounds and also by now including LNG. Under the bill, both new acquired as well as converted vehicles qualify for the tax incentive as well as a separate sales and use tax exemption. Dedicated, bi-fuel and dual-fuel heavy-duty vehicles qualify, and the incentives will be in place for vehicles purchased from July 1, 2014 to December 31, 2021. The tax credits are tied to a percentage of a vehicle’s incremental cost, and over time the percentages allowed (but not the total value of the credits) decline. The incentives are also refundable so that, if their value exceeds a business’ annual tax obligation, they can still benefit.

The tax credits for vehicles in the first three years are worth 18 percent of the cost of a new NGV or 55 percent of the cost to convert a vehicle to operate on natural gas. For all years, the values of the tax credits are capped as follows: light duty passenger vehicles, $6,000; light duty trucks, $7,500; medium duty truck, $15,000; and heavy duty truck, $20,000. Starting in the fourth year, the percentage used to compute the value of the tax credits starts to decline, and does so progressively. In the case of new vehicles, the percentage declines as follows: 15%, 11.25%, 7.5% and 3.75%. For converted vehicles the percentage declines as follows: 45%, 33.75%, 22.5% and 11.25%. The law also includes a requirement that Colorado authorities make a determination before tax year 2019 regarding the life-cycle emissions of different motor vehicle technologies and only those with greater emission benefits will continue to qualify for credits after 2019.

The sale tax exemption provided in the bill excludes from tax 25 percent of the value of the new or converted vehicle, so that only 75 percent of the cost is subject to sales tax. This rule is intended to address the higher incremental cost of alternative fuel vehicles. The sales and use tax provision beginning July 1, 2014 is only available, in the case of NGVs, to vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating of greater than 10,000 pounds. The incentives included in the bill also extend to other alternative fuels and technologies such as hybrid electric vehicles but those provisions are not addressed here.

Ward Alternative Energy, an NGVAmerica members, led a coalition of companies that supported adoption of the legislation and worked with many other stakeholders to make passage of this bill a reality.