2019 STATE POLICY AGENDA
STATE BID LIST
The State Bid List is what the Department of Administrative Services uses for purchasing. Included in this are vehicles for the state of Ohio but local governments can also use this list for their own purchasing. The state of Ohio has very few alternative fueled vehicles on the state bid list. Local governments that are interested in buying Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFV's) typically have a considerable amount of difficulty acquiring them because of their lack of presence on the state list.
We ask that the state of Ohio add more AFVs to the State Bid List to allow better access by local governments.
One of the biggest barriers we see to the adoption of AFV’s is the up-front cost. The Alternative Fuel Conversion Grant contained a provision which allocated $5 million for the purchase or conversion to AFVs’. The program was written with extremely narrow eligibility for receiving the grant and needs to be expanded. Eligibility should be extended to vehicles of all weight classes and all fuels with a sliding scale where heavier vehicles get a larger amount of funding towards incremental cost while medium duty and light duty get less respectively.
Currently, the AFV Grant is under the control of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It makes more sense to put this grant under the control of the Ohio Department of Development.
We ask that the Alternative Fuel Conversion Grant be expanded to include more alternative fuels and all vehicle sizes.
TAXATION RATES AND METHODOLOGY
Under current tax law, transportation fuel is taxed by volume and therefore, there is no method to tax gaseous fuels. Once 3% of registered vehicles in Ohio are alternative fuels, Clean Fuels Ohio would like to see a gradual phase in taxing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) over 7 years. In order to be fair to small businesses and consumers, a phase in provides the stability necessary for current users to prepare to pay taxes on CNG. Taxes on CNG damage the ROI so it is important to create additional financial incentives if a CNG tax will be put in place.
Additionally, once the 3% threshold for alternative fuels is reached, electric vehicles (EV’s) should be required to purchase an annual $50 registration sticker. Sixty percent of this funding would go to a state fund for public EV charging infrastructure and 40% would go to the road fund.
We ask that the road tax be phased in over seven years and that EV owners be required to buy a $50 registration sticker and the revenue be split between the road fund and a public charging fund.
Establishing safety standards are necessary. These standards would apply to vehicles and licensing for installation of alternative fuel systems. These standards would require the use of EPA compliant parts and systems as well as an inspection by a certified CNG inspector.
We ask that safety standards be established by the state of Ohio.
STATE FLEET GREENING
The state of Ohio has an extremely small number of alternative fueled vehicles in the state fleet. With access to compressed natural gas (CNG), propane and EV infrastructure, it makes sense from both a business and environmental perspective to require alternative fueled vehicles be included in the State fleet.
We ask that the state of Ohio be required to include alternative fueled vehicles in the state fleet.
WEIGHT LIMIT EXEMPTION
Most states currently allow CNG users an additional 2,000 pounds to offset the weight of the tanks. While Ohio currently allows the additional weight for State highways, we do not allow the same exemption for federal highways. Through the FAST Act, states are permitted to grant the weight exemption on federal highways if they choose to do so.
We ask that Ohio allow an additional 2000 pounds for CNG vehicles on federal highways.
RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS GRANT AND INTERCONNECTION ISSUES
Renewable natural gas (RNG) is natural gas created from biomass. With proper oversight, RNG can be improved to pipeline quality and can be connected into the existing gas infrastructure. RNG burns very clean and is made from organic waste products so not only are carbon emissions reduced compared to diesel, carbon emissions are reduced because carbon emissions from landfill waste is being contained as well. Grants should be created to offset some of the initial cost of the equipment used to generate RNG.
Additionally, the Public Utilities Commission needs to establish a clear, transparent process and objective standard for allowing interconnection to pipeline for RNG.
We ask that Ohio establish a grant for RNG equipment and establish a clear, transparent process for interconnection to existing gas infrastructure.