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HB 3835, if passed, would modify a number of sections of the Government Code (2158) regarding the plan to create alternative fuel fleets for state agencies. Two significant changes are made to the clean fuel fleet program. One change would be to push the due date of achieving 50% alternative fuel vehicles from 2010 to 2025. The second change would limit the fuel types which an agency could choose from to achieve this goal.
Currently, agencies can choose from compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, methanol/gasoline blend, ethanol/gasoline blend, and biodiesel/diesel blend. HB 3835 would remove the option to use either ethanol or biodiesel.
The alternative fuel fleet program is an expensive and market distorting project. If the purpose of this bill was to create that program we would oppose it. However, this bill actually makes beneficial changes to the already existing alternative fuel fleet program.
Currently state agencies will be forced to update their vehicle fleets so that a certain percentage of vehicles operate on one of six types of alternative fuels. If passed, the bill would prohibit two of the six fuel options from being used and shift the program completion date back ten years from what is currently required in statute.
Of the six alternative fuels that are options for state agency fleets to use to comply with the program, this legislation would eliminate two which have been demonstrated to be harmful to vehicle motors. The state shouldn't be subsidizing any alternative fuels but so long as the current law requires it, removing fuels that have been shown to be harmful to engines seems prudent.
The shift of the due date for the program from 2010 to 2025 would be beneficial, particularly considering that we are well past the original due.
These beneficial changes to a bad program fit within our view of limited government, therefore we support this legislation.