Today, the Florida House passed HB 579 to promote the use of natural gas fuels in Florida.
On Tuesday, HB 579 passed the Florida Senate 39-0 and was immediately sent to the Florida House. That chamber took up the bill on Thursday, passing it 116-2.
The legislation encourages commercial fleet owners to invest in new natural gas vehicles through grants administered by the Office of Energy at the Florida Department of Agriculture. The immense popularity of American natural gas among Floridians contributed to the bill's success.
In February, the coalition announced the results of a public opinion survey conducted by TelOpinion Research Feb. 7–12, 2013. The survey found that 72% of Floridians supported a program to help convert commercial fleet vehicles from traditional fuels to American natural gas, decreasing U.S. reliance on imported oil, creating jobs and improving air quality.
The survey also found that 96% of respondents believe it is important to promote energy independence in the United States; 93% believe it is important to create new, well paying jobs; and 95% believe it is important to protect Florida's environment.
In 2013, the Florida Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition published an updated study by Fishkind and Associates indicating that a natural gas vehicle incentive program could create over 10,000 new jobs, more than $300 million in wages and over $1 billion in economic impact.