A proposed energy plan working its way through Congress could change the energy landscape in America.
An energy stimulus
In April, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a bill, the NAT GAS Act, to provide substantial tax credits to encourage the use of America's vast natural gas reserves as a transportation fuel.
The bill is currently stuck in committee, a place where most bills go to die. However, the NAT GAS Act has a good chance to leap over this legislative hurdle and go to the floor for a vote, where it has overwhelming support.
The committees currently reviewing the NAT GAS Act are stacked with lawmakers who support the legislation. In fact, some of the lead co-sponsors of the bill hold high-ranking positions in these committees.
President Barack Obama has also expressed support for the bill and recently appointed a panel to ease environmental concerns over the process of extracting natural gas. This further indicates his intention of using the vast resource to combat high oil prices.
The recent activity in the private sector is cause for optimism as well.
Nat gas believers
And look for Chesapeake Energy
Essentially, Chesapeake is making a market for the natural gas it produces by agreeing to buy the natural gas it sells. And the strategy is working, as many other companies are converting their fleets to run on natural gas as the number of CNG stations increases. This activity will further accelerate in a favorable legislative environment.
And as more companies turn to natural gas to fuel their fleets, Fuel System Solutions
The company still has an impressive war chest, so more acquisitions might be in the offing. However, management remains evasive with regard to the company's considerable cash position.
Many car manufacturers are planning to offer natural gas vehicles in the United States. Currently, Honda
Fiat, formerly known to Americans as Fix It Again Tony, has cleaned up its act and the company plans to re-enter the U.S. market with clean-burning natural gas vehicles. Fiat, which owns Chrysler, views natural gas as a natural fit for trucks like its Dodge Ram.
Big Oil recognizes the potential of natural gas as evidenced by its recent natural gas spending spree. Shell, Exxon
The bottom line
All signs point to natural gas. Congress is prepared to act, and many companies already have. Investors who believe in the future of natural gas should act as well.
Fool contributor Adam J. Crawford owns shares of Fuel Systems Solutions but does not own shares of any other company mentioned in this article.
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