Tuesday, December 4, 2012

T. Boone's NatGas Act Lives! (CLNE; WPRT)

There are a lot of nasty things (mostly true) I could say about Mr. Pickens but I'll grant him this, the guy is indomitable.
From the Haynesville Play blog:

NAT GAS Act Redux (and the Devil's Advocate)
It looks like the NAT GAS Act will get a second chance this coming year.  At the Natural Gas and Trucking Summit in Arlington, VA last week, U.S. Representatives Lee Terry (R-NE) and John Sullivan (R-OK) announced that they would reintroduce a version of the NAT GAS Act that was originally put forward by T. Boone Pickens aimed at increasing the adoption of natural gas as a fuel for trucks.

While I support the concept of the bill, I don't expect a different outcome this time around (the House and Senate bills died in committee in 2011).  Maybe I'm getting old or tired of the 24 hour news cycle, but news of the new NAT GAS bill makes me want to put on my devil's advocate hat for a few minutes.

The argument favoring natural gas for trucks is an economic one first and environmental second.  Natural gas is cheaper than diesel fuel and companies can hedge future prices of natural gas to help keep costs predictable.  Natgas is also cleaner to burn - especially important in states where air quality is legislated - and easier on engines.  On the negative side, natgas trucks cost more than diesel trucks and reduce some operational flexibility, especially for long-haul vehicles.  But ultimately it's a business decision, and it looks like a win-win investment to me.

So why do I have to pay for it?

We now live in a climate of where corporations expect extra incentives (I won't say "handouts") to be coaxed to make certain decisions.  A federal subsidy to convert existing vehicles to natgas or to purchase new ones would accelerate the payback period and make it a sweet deal.  But why should we, the American citizens, have to grease the skids for companies to make a good business decision?...MORE 
Back in May's "T. Boone Pickens' (and Nancy Pelosi's) Clean Energy Fuels Racking Up Expenses (CLNE)" we had some similar thoughts:
If ever there was a business that should be able to grow without government subsidies it's this one.
Backed by a billionaire, input costs (natural gas) plummeting, favorable consumer economics...
But no, Boone is still pitching the Congress on directing tax dollars his way. The Pelosi connection is below the jump....
We have so many posts on Clean Energy Fuels, Westport Innovations, T. Boone Pickens and the NatGas Act that it borders on the ridiculous if not the obsessive. A couple that stand out:
A Bullish Bet on Clean Energy Fuels: Is Nancy Pelosi a Better Derivatives Trader than Hillary Clinton? (CLNE)

October 2010's "T. Boone Pickens-- Score!: EPA Proposes Carbon Dioxide Regulations for Trucks, Buses, Pickups (CLNE)" had a lot of links including:
...If you're interested here's the recording of the session with T. Boone and Ted Turner via Aspen Public Radio.
The Boone and Ted show (they've taken it on the road a few times) is pretty funny, in a billionaire sort of way....
CLNE $12.77 -$0.36, WPRT $26.65 - $0.26.