State environmental officials are offering $10 million worth of incentives to companies, government agencies and nonprofits for the purchase of cars or light trucks that run on natural gas or to convert lighter-weight vehicles that now use gasoline.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection launched the program Wednesday in a bid to generate demand for natural gas vehicles. A drilling boom in Pennsylvania and other states in recent years has produced enormous quantities of cheap gas.
The DEP grant program is open to nonprofit organizations, companies, local governments and local transportation agencies for natural gas vehicles weighing less than 14,000 pounds. The program also covers conversion or purchase of electric, propane or other alternative fuel vehicles of any size.
Grants will be awarded in the fall. Funding comes from a tax on utilities.
The program will help put new or converted police patrol cars, passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks on the road, DEP Acting Secretary Chris Abruzzo said.
Earlier this month, the state awarded more than $6.7 million in funding to 18 companies and local governments that switched to natural gas for buses, garbage trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles. That money came from an impact fee on drillers.