Today, America’s natural gas infrastructure reaches more than 177M people across the nation. While this represents a significant percentage of the country, there still remain significant opportunities to expand access to natural gas to parts of the USA currently not connected to the pipeline. Natural gas utilities are partnering with energy planners, regulators and policymakers with the goal of bridging this gap. Expanding natural gas access will, in time, provide the comfort and savings of natural gas to all American communities. 

Natural gas brings jobs to local economies 

According to the AGA, approximately 1.5M jobs are supported either directly or indirectly across the country through natural gas exploration, transportation and distributing, ancillary industry such as agriculture and manufacturing, and general economic growth as employees inject their incomes into the local economy. 

Expanding natural gas access into currently underserved regions can boost the economy in areas where it is needed most.  

Local businesses and residents benefit from the savings 

In addition to the direct economic output of the natural gas industry and closely related industries, providing a more affordable energy option for all local businesses can improve business efficiency and free up profits to be invested into business expansion, additional hiring or better wages. 

As residents experience lower monthly energy bills, discretionary income is freed up in household budgets to be spent in other sectors across the full economy. 

Enhanced energy choice greats a knock-on effect across the economy where everyone, across both residential and commercial sectors, has more money to spend as they see fit. 

State and federal governments support natural gas expansion through incentives 

Natural gas is clean, affordable, abundant and domestic. These four qualities make it an excellent choice as the energy of the future of the United, and governments at local, state and the federal level have implemented policy designed to encourage natural gas expansion. 

Nearly 80% of states have either adopted or proposed innovative expansion initiatives to speed natural gas growth and reap the benefits. 

The following are current federal incentives in place relating to natural gas: 

  • Advanced Biofuel Feedstock Incentives 
  • Alternative Fuel Corridor (AFC) Grants 
  • Alternative Fuel Tax Exemption 
  • Alternative Fuel and Advanced Vehicle Technology Research and Demonstration Bonds 
  • Clean School Bus 
  • Community Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Grants 
  • Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program 
  • Environmental Justice Community Technical Assistance Program 
  • Improved Energy Technology Loans 
  • Low and Zero Emission Public Transportation Funding 
  • Low or Zero Emission Ferry Program 
  • National Alternative Fuels Corridors 
  • Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) and Plug-In Electric Vehicle (PEV) Weight Exemption 
  • Public School Energy Program 
  • Public Transportation Research, Demonstration, and Deployment Funding 
  • State Energy Program (SEP) Funding 

In addition to these incentives, a host of associate laws and programs can be found here on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy page. 

Expanding access where the pipeline exists 

In addition to physically expanding the distribution pipeline, state and federal governments have put a wide range of incentive and assistant programs in place to make it easier for low-income Americans to fuel their homes with natural gas. 

One such initiative, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), provides annual grants to states to be able to fund their own home energy assistance programs. LIHEAP assists the most vulnerable utility customers in paying their energy bills. 

Expanding natural gas access can keep all of our homes safe, comfortable and warm, and all of our economies fueled with energy to grow.