New Law Promotes Use of Cleaner-Burning Natural Gas in Larger Vehicles

HARRISBURG – Legislation authored by Sen. Wayne Langerholc (R-35) to promote the use of cleaner-burning natural gas in larger vehicles was signed into law Thursday as Act 31 of 2017.

Langerholc’s proposal increased the maximum allowable weight for motor carrier vehicles that are powered by natural gas from 80,000 pounds to 82,000 pounds to accommodate the heavier equipment needed for natural gas-burning vehicles.

Vehicles powered by natural gas typically weigh more than gasoline- or diesel-powered trucks simply because of the heavier fuel tanks and related equipment needed to accommodate this different type of fuel.

“Pennsylvania is fortunate to have an abundance of natural gas, and this new law helps us take advantage of this tremendous resource in transporting a variety of different goods throughout the East Coast,” Langerholc said. “The law not only bolsters our Commonwealth’s status as a major hub for transportation, but also helps us reduce air pollution and promote a healthier environment.  I want to make sure I thank my friend and colleague, Rep. Carl Walker Metzger, for his leadership in championing this bill through the House of Representatives.”

“Federal lawmakers passed the FAST Act in 2015 that allows states to increase their allowable weights for natural-gas-powered vehicles. Dozens of states have already taken advantage of this provision in federal law, and many other states are considering similar measures,” Langerholc said.

Rex McQuaide, of W.C. McQuaide, Inc. in Johnstown, has already converted the majority of his trucking fleet to run on natural gas and has been waiting for the law in Pennsylvania to mirror what the FAST Act intended.

“I am elated that Senator Langerholc made this issue a priority so soon into his term,” he said.  “It is an important issue for the local economy and Pennsylvania as a whole.”

Langerholc’s district, which includes all or part of Clearfield, Cambria and Bedford Counties, has a number of CNG fueling stations with more sure to follow. CamTran in Johnstown opened their new facility in April, and Langerholc was there to tour the facility.

“It showed me the potential that we now have with being able to use our abundance of natural gas to power our vehicles,” he said.  “It’s important that we passed this bill to allow heavier trucks, which are the most harmful to the environment, to not have to sacrifice payload in order to convert to Natural Gas.”

The legislation will go into effect in 60 days.

CONTACT:   Gwenn Dando       (717) 599-1164