Natural Gas Fuel Rebate Gains Support

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.

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.”

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.

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.

A school bus costs 27,000 dollars more than a traditional bus. The district saves around 6,000 per year, which pays off the difference in 4 ½ years.

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.

The law goes into effect January 1st.

The law also repeals provisions requiring annual decal fee program, and provides natural gas fuel tax.