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Economy and Business

The 'chicken and the egg' of CNG cars
A proposed, bi-partisan bill in Ohio would give tax credits for the conversion of vehicles to natural-gas power, but there's a hitch, there are virtually no CNG filling stations

Reporter / Host
Jeff St. Clair
Andrew Chiarelli sells natural gas powered Honda Civics for Motorcars Cleveland. While the clean-fuel cars have been popular for fleets, they may become more practical for individual owners if a proposed 50% tax credit bill becomes law.
Courtesy of Jeff St.Clair
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A pair of northeast Ohio lawmakers want to help the state gain energy independence by putting more natural-gas-powered vehicles on the road. But WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports, there is a slight problem…


LISTEN: The 'chicken and egg' of CNG cars

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Representative Sean O’Brien, a Democrat from Trumbull County, and Holmes County Republican Dave Hall plan to introduce a bill to give tax credits to companies and individuals who convert vehicles to run on compressed natural gas, or CNG.

O’Brien says with Ohio’s shale gas boom CNG, at around $2.00 a gallon, is more affordable than gasoline.

But, he says, state incentives are needed to overcome the “chicken and the egg” paradox of the fact there are virtually no natural gas filling stations.

“If you build the vehicles will the stations come, or do you build the stations and will the vehicles come? Which one comes first?”

O’Brien says in addition to the tax credit for converting vehicles to CNG, his bill taps into Ohio’s modest drilling severance tax to fund zero-interest loans to companies installing CNG pumps.

“Even that little miniscule is still going to produce millions of dollars that we can tap into and use that money to fund it.”

It costs between $5,000 and $10,000 to convert a vehicle to run on CNG. The new state incentive would give a 50 percent tax credit on the conversion. A 30 percent federal conversion tax credit expires at the end of this year.

Related WKSU Stories

Clean-fuel comes to Cleveland
Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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