BATON ROUGE, LA – The State of Louisiana’s House of Representatives is considering a bill, HB 1213, which would require State agencies to purchase natural gas and/or bi-fuel vehicles. It would also provide funding for these types of alternative-fuel vehicle purchases by State agencies. The bill, if passed as-is, would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2012.

According to the text of HB 1213, the bill would require the administrators of State agencies to not approve fleet vehicle purchases unless the vehicles can be fueled by natural gas or liquid petroleum gas or are bi-fuel models (either gasoline or diesel plus CNG or LPG).

The bill would provide funding for bi-fuel, natural gas, or liquid petroleum gas fuels via the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Revolving Loan Fund or the Flex-Fund Revolving Loan Program. Funds would pay the difference between the cost of a traditionally fueled vehicle and an alternative-fuel vehicle. The bill would also apply to law enforcement, or other emergency service, vehicles, assuming alt-fuel versions of the vehicles are feasible given the needs of the emergency services agency.

State agencies will be able to waive the requirements of the bill if the agency can’t recover the difference between the purchase cost of an alternative-fuel vehicle and a traditionally fueled vehicle within 60 months of the purchase or lease. Agencies will also be able to waive the bill’s requirements if the agency isn’t within 25 miles of an available fueling facility or if the vehicle doesn’t meet required specifications required by the agency.

The bill also says a State agency can acquire equipment or refueling facilities needed to operate alt-fuel vehicles (as defined previously) by purchasing or leasing if the agency can recover its costs, including finance charges, within 48 months of the purchase or lease. Other options include gifts or loans of the equipment or facilities (including a gift or loan pursuant to a service contract for the supply of alternative fuels).

By Greg Basich