With the new tax incentives in Louisiana to convert vehicles to natural gas comes an increased demand for technicians to service the vehicles. To fill this need, the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium stepped into action to train new NGV technicians as part of the Louisiana Department of Education’s Super Summer Institute.

A proactive natural gas provider in Louisiana, Chesapeake Energy Corporation sponsored the one-day NGV training workshops, which were geared toward automotive technology instructors at secondary and post-secondary level schools in the state. This CNG workshop was repeated several times during the summer institute to reach all who attended NAFTC partnered with the Louisiana Community and Technical College System and the U.S. Department of Energy to help with the proposal and the training.

About 75 people participated in the workshop which was held at Louisiana Technical College, Lafayette Campus.

Al Ebron, Executive Director of the NAFTC, said, “the NAFTC’s training on natural gas is typically much longer, but we specifically customized this training to meet the needs of the Super Summer Institute.”

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The NAFTC’s Executive Director, Al Ebron, gives a presentation at the NGV Training in Louisiana. Credit: NAFTC.

The NAFTC course was taught by Terry Wolfe, an experienced trainer and NAFTC member from the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville Campus.

“We wanted to help the Louisiana Technical College automotive instructors get a better grasp of how we get CNG, how CNG works, and how it functions within the vehicle. It was a lot of information to teach in only eight hours, but we tried to give them a good mid-level training overview,” Wolfe said.

Trainees in Lafayette had the opportunity to learn about a variety of issues ranging from basic operations of natural gas vehicles to future use of NGVs.

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Pictured left to right: Al Ebron, NAFTC Executive Director; John Easley LCTCS Career and Technical Education Coordinator; Brett Melington, LCTCS Board of Supervisors; Sarie N. Joubert, Chesepeake Energy Manager-Public Affairs, Louisiana; Senator Nick Gautreaux, Louisiana State Senate; Jimmy Sawtelle, LCTCS Interim Senior Vice President, Career and Technical Education; and Phyllis Dupuis, LTC Region 4 Regional Director. Credit: NAFTC.

Kevin McCotter, Chesapeake’s Director of Corporate Development, said, “Training on natural gas automotive technology is a critical piece of the necessary infrastructure for Louisiana citizens to take advantage of the state’s tax credit program for the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel.”

Louisiana is offering a refundable corporate or personal income tax credit for up to 50 percent of the cost of equipment needed to convert a vehicle to natural gas. Also, there is a tax credit of up to $3,000 for the purchase of a dedicated NGV.

With the passage of Louisiana Act 469 in July which created the tax incentives, and the cost of natural gas averaging 40 percent less than gasoline or diesel, the market demand for NGVs in Louisiana is expected to increase rapidly.

“These trainings are important for our energy security, our health and the health of generations to come. As the U.S. looks for more and more ways to diversify their energy sources, we’ll continue to provide more and more trainings,” Ebron added.

The NAFTC conducts NGV training regularly. Information can be obtained by contacting Adam Brown, Events Coordinator, at 304-293-7882, or Adam.Brown@mail.wvu.edu.

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