At a luncheon hosted by Politico at the GOP convention in Tampa today, T. Boone Pickens said truck fleets will switch from diesel to natural gas without Congress approving the NAT GAS Act, legislation offering generous tax credits for the purchase of natural gas trucks (up to $64,000 per vehicle) and installation of natural gas fueling infrastructure. Pickens reportedly spent about $100 million over the past five years promoting his energy agenda, commonly known as the Pickens Plan.
Congress declined to pass either the NAT GAS Act or an earlier iteration of the Pickens Plan that would have required 20% of the nation’s electricity to come from wind, thus supposedly freeing up natural gas to be used to fuel both trucks and passenger cars.
Critics argued that if switching to natural gas vehicles makes commercial sense, private enterprise will bring about the transformation without Washington trying to pick energy market winners and losers. Pickens is now talking the talk. Politico‘s Darren Goode reports:
“You don’t have to have a tax credit; it’s going to happen,” he [Pickens] said. The choices to run 18-wheelers, he said, are between natural gas and diesel — and natural gas is “$2 a gallon cheaper.”
And Pickens strongly suggested that he doesn’t have any plans to try to push his plan anymore in the nation’s Capital.
“I will not go back to Washington again unless it’s for a social event,” he said.
The billionaire and former oil baron also lamented that while his plan initially promoted wind energy, that hasn’t worked out so well.
“I’ve lost my ass” to wind-energy investments, he conceded.