Iowa Utility Association

  • Phone: 515.282.2115
  • Fax: 515.282.7709
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  • Address: 500 East Court Avenue, Suite 312, Des Moines, IA 50309

Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Alternative Fuel Vehicles header

Electric Vehicles Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles

One issue watched closely by investor-owned utilities in the 2013 Legislative Session was tax credits for facilities dispensing electricity or compressed natural gas (CNG) for vehicles. In 2013, both General Motors and Black Hills Energy indicated their interest in once again pursuing such legislation for alternative fuel vehicles(HF-267 & SF-238 (was SF-520 in 2012)). The Ways & Means Committee was considering the bills before the bills lost traction in both chambers and “died” before session’s end. These bills sought to create an electric or natural gas vehicle facility tax credit (30 percent of total cost) for constructing, installing and placing in service an electric vehicle facility or a natural gas vehicle facility. The bill would have had retroactive applicability beginning on or after January 31, 2013. It likely will be an issue brought forward in 2014’s legislative session.

IUA member companies support alternative fuel (electric and CNG) vehicle efforts in Iowa. For more specific details on the IUA member companies’ position on the issue, the IUA encourages you to contact the utilities directly.

Electric Vehicles

As stated on Black Hills Energy’s webpage on alternative fuel vehicles, “Electric vehicles allow people to travel their daily commute without using any gasoline” and they “rely solely on an electrical outlet for re-charging the batteries that will take you on your journey nearly silently and pollution free.” See a brief Black Hills Energy commentary piece, “Charge your vehicle and head out for your daily commute.”

MidAmerican Energy states the following: “Plug-in electric vehicles can help increase energy security, reduce dependency on foreign oil, improve fuel economy, lower fuel costs and reduce emissions associated with operating a motor vehicle.” Learn more about electric vehicle basics from MidAmerican Energy, with links to additional electric vehicle resources.

Plug In America, a 501(c)(3) public charity that promotes “Battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles for the public to drive today,” offers insightful information about electric vehicles on its website,

Plug In America

Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles

Black Hills Energy “leads the charge,” if you will, on the issue of CNG-fueled vehicles in Iowa. The gist of Black Hills Energy’s advocacy for natural gas vehicles  can be summarized in the following points (info was provided to the IUA by Black Hills Energy):

Black Hills Energy believes compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, or natural gas vehicles (NGVs), offer environmental benefits. They are cost efficient, safe and cleaner-running than gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles. Per unit of energy, natural gas contains less carbon than any other fossil fuel. Tests have shown that, compared to gasoline and diesel vehicles, NGVs reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22 to 29 percent.

Other reasons investor-owned natural gas companies like Black Hills Energy advocate for natural gas as a vehicle fuel include the following:

America has 100-plus years of natural gas reserves available to meet its energy needs.

Ninety (90) percent of the United States’s natural gas is produced in the United States, reducing U.S. need for foreign oil. Also, the U.S. has 1.5 million miles of reliable natural gas infrastructure.

Converting one refuse truck from diesel to natural gas is the equivalent of taking up to 325 cars off the road in terms of pollution reduction. Put another way, a natural gas refuse truck displaces 35-40 gallons of diesel fuel per day.

People have enjoyed the benefits of safe, reliable natural gas for more than 100 years.

Stable, Affordable Prices & Financial Incentives
Natural gas prices are relatively low and stable — and predicted to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Gasoline prices, on the other hand, are more difficult to gauge month-to-month and year-to-year. Low and stable natural gas prices provide for less uncertainty in managing budgets and offer businesses substantial cost savings. Natural gas is sold in gasoline gallon equivalents (GGEs) or diesel gallon equivalents (DGEs), and on average, drivers today save between $0.75 and $1.25 per GGE/DGE at the pump. Over the past 14 years, natural gas has been anywhere between 25 percent and 42 percent cheaper than deisel per DGE. Federal rebates also are available for qualifying CNG-Fueled vehicles and fueling infrastructure purchases.

CNG-Fueled Vehicles Production on the Rise
More than 25 manufacturers produce 100 models of light, medium and heavy-duty natural gas vehicles and engines in the U.S. One-in-five (20%) of all new transit buses on order nationwide are fueled with natural gas. Over 130,000 CNG-Fueled vehicles in the U.S. and approximately 14.8 million worldwide are in operation today.

Black Hills Energy CNG Vehicle