Senate approves bill facilitating transition to natural gas vehicles

Published: Monday, March 11 2013 5:00 p.m. MDT

In this Nov. 17, 2011 file photo, the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas car, named Green Car of the Year for 2012, is displayed after its unveiling at press preview day for the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Reed Saxon, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a bill that establishes a public service commission to facilitate the transition to natural gas in Utah.

SB275, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, directs the commission to conduct a study looking at how to allow gas corporations to build and maintain gas stations that cater to natural gas vehicles.

The bill was amended to require the commission to report to Legislature and the governor by Sept. 30. The amendment's deadline, Adams said, ensures that funding requirements will be determined by that specific date.

Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, voiced his concern about funding, asking if it will affect gas rates.

Adams said there may be as much as $30 million available in a conservation fund that could be used to curb rising rates.

“To prejudge this assessment as a rate increase, I think, is premature right now,” Adams said. "(The commission) will determine where those funds come from.”

Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, said she appreciated the introduction of the bill and even if rates do go up, having cleaner air makes would be worth the cost.

Rachel Lowry

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