New Mexico Legislature Passes Two Pro-NGV Bills
Last week, two NGV bills that NGVAmerica has been supporting both passed unanimously through the New Mexico House and Senate. The Governor has stated that natural gas and NGVs are a priority for New Mexico and that the state needs to remove barriers and to offer viable incentives. House Joint Memorial 5 calls for a study to be done that will provide recommended vehicle and station incentives for the 2017 Session, as well as define the needed corridor of natural gas fueling stations to coordinate with the national corridor called for by the FAST Act. House Bill 176 (HB176) raises the allowed weight limit on heavy duty NGVs operating on the roads in New Mexico.
Joint Memorial 5 (HJM5) recognizes the need to increase the use of NGVs in the U.S. Specifically, the HJM5 requests that the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, the Economic Development Department and the General Services Department develop a report that identifies:
- How New Mexico can increase the use of natural gas vehicles (NGV) within the state including what types of incentives are needed;
- Obstacles to increasing the use of NGVs by large fleet operators and individual consumers;
- The methods being used by other states to promote their NGV markets;
- The potential for New Mexico to receive Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program funding and other federal funding to increase NGVs; and
- A plan for alternative fuel corridors within the state.
The Departments are to consult with members of the New Mexico Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, and the report is to be presented prior to November 15, 2016. New Mexico currently ranks number five in the U.S. in terms of natural gas production. Increasing the use of natural gas in general, and more specifically in transportation, is seen as a key economic driver for the state. One area where NGVs could play a major role in New Mexico is in supporting the build out of the state’s inland port, Santa Teresa, which is currently experiencing significant growth.
HB176 directs state authorities to provide a weight allowance for natural gas trucks based on the additional weight of their natural gas fuel systems and storage tanks. HB176 updates New Mexico law to allow a greater weight allowance for NGVs, bringing the allowable weight up to 82,000 pounds to compensate for the weight of natural gas fuel systems.
NGVAmerica thanks NGVA members TECO (New Mexico Gas Co.), Clean Energy and Waste Management, as well as other New Mexico NGV stakeholders for their work with legislative leaders during this process.