Rebate advanced for clean fuel vehicles

Owners of clean fuel-burning vehicles could receive a rebate under a bill advanced from general file May 26.

Under LB581, introduced by Omaha Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, the owner of a qualifying vehicle could apply for the rebate as long as the applicant has not claimed another rebate or incentive for the same vehicle.

Nordquist said that over 30 states currently offer some sort of incentive to convert vehicles to a form of compressed natural gas.

“Since 2008, oil and natural gas production has increased each year, while imports of foreign oil have decreased,” he said. “This would create a rebate program to promote conversion of vehicles to qualifying clean burning fuels, which offer significant benefits over gasoline.”

The bill defines qualified clean-burning motor vehicle fuel as hydrogen fuel cell, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas.

An applicant who has conversion equipment installed on their vehicle could receive the lesser amount of either $4,500 or 50 percent of the cost of conversion.

A rebate of $2,500 or 50 percent of the cost of conversion also would be available for property that is directly related to the compression and delivery of natural gas from a private home or residence, for noncommercial purposes, into a fuel tank of a motor vehicle propelled by natural gas.

Omaha Sen. John McCollister opposed the bill.

“There are just so few fueling stations currently. Until there is more opportunity to fill up a vehicle and a greater number of stations, I really doubt this will have much effect,” he said. “Let the state stay away from these credits and let the market decide whether or not this is the way to go.”

Sen. Curt Friesen of Henderson introduced an amendment, adopted 30-0, which would add to the bill as a qualified clean-burning motor vehicle fuel gasoline containing at least 15 percent ethanol. It also would allocate $500,000 to fund rebates under the program.

Following the adoption of a technical amendment, senators advanced the bill to select file on a 27-13 vote.

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