Earlier this year the Senate and the House of Representatives passed their own versions of a six-year bill to fund the Department of Transportation's surface transportation programs, informally known as the highway funding bill. Each version contains provisions that would be beneficial to owners of compressed natural gas vehicles, and the natural gas industry is waiting to see if any of them will make it to the final version, according to NGT News.

The biggest potential consumer benefit is in the House bill that would direct the Environmental Protection Agency to extend to CNG-powered vehicles all of the incentives directed at plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. That would mean federal tax credits of anywhere from $2,500 to $7,500 for new buyers. The House version would also open up Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) program funds to be doled out to alternative-fuel vehicle projects.

A provision in the Senate bill would give CNG-powered tractor-trailers a 2,000-pound weight equalization allowance. That would removed the penalty faced by CNG-powered trucks for the extra plumbing and tanks necessary to give them the same range as their diesel-powered counterparts.

A conference committee is still fleshing out the two versions in order to present a final bill for passage. The president signed a two-week extension for highway funding that's good until Dec. 4, which gives the committee until this Friday to complete its work.

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