By: Matt Horn
June 20, 2013
Tallahassee, FL - State lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill providing 30 million dollars to convert commercial fleet vehicles to natural gas. Even though Florida’s new law is considered the most progressive in the country, not everyone agrees it’s the best for the state.
Natural gas is cheaper, more efficient and cleaner than gas or diesel. State government and private companies have already started using the alternative form of fuel. ”The fuel is very economical. We bought 8 buses, now we have 44 buses,” said Manny Joanos, Leon County Schools.
Schools in Tallahassee were the first to use natural gas to power buses. About one-third of their fleet uses the domestic gas. ”It wasn’t until 2009 before we bought the first school buses,” said Joanos.
This legislative session, state lawmakers passed a bill which encourages private and public companies to convert commercial fleet vehicles to natural gas. ”This legislation is going to push a lot of people over the fence. Where they’ve been on if they can make it work for them,” said Dale Calhoun, Natural Gas Supporter.
The Governor signed the bill into law. It’ll reimburse companies 50 percent for the extra costs to purchase a vehicle running on natural gas. Supporters say it will encourage more natural gas refueling stations and in the long run, it will save money for companies.
Even with support for the use of natural gas; Florida tea partiers don’t support state rebates. ”What it sounds like to me is the state taking away voices. Anytime you have rebate incentive on state, federal or local. They’re picking the winners and losers,” said Pace Allen, Tea Party member.
The law goes into effect January 1st; it also repeals provisions requiring annual decal fee program, and provides natural gas fuel tax.