According to studies, the bill could also create 400,000 jobs, and some politicians will no doubt seek to score political points by attaching their names to it in this dismal labor market.
On the other hand, with most Americans fed up with government spending and clamoring for budget cuts, this is the worst possible time to ask for $5 billion in new handouts, regardless of how they will be put to use.
But there are some highly influential people behind the development of natural-gas-based vehicles, including House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) and President Barack Obama (unlikely allies on this one). Even some Tea Party members (the most ardent and vocal budget-slashers) are on board, including Rep. John Sullivan (R., Okla.), who introduced the bill.
The cynical might say that some of those votes have been bought (62 companies lobbied for the bill's passage last quarter, handing out a reported $25.3 million in the process).I'm not here to weigh-in on the bill's political merits, just to comment on how this might play out for investors. By my score, the bill will pass through the House without too many roadblocks, although it could get bogged down in the Senate once again. But there is certainly room for compromise. And with ethanol subsidies all but flat-lined, I think CNG will step in and soak up some of that support. Action to Take: Many stocks tied to natural gas have rallied -- not because the government might sweeten the proposition, but because it hasn't had to. The private market has already made several bold investments on its own, including Chesapeake's (CHK - Get Report) $1 billion venture with Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE - Get Report) and other partners. That free-market spending speaks volumes. Should the government lend its financial support, some experts believe there could be as many as 350,000 NGV trucks on the nation's highways within the next few years, spending $3.5 billion on natural-gas derived fuels each year. The Nat-Gas Act will undoubtedly face tough opposition. But even without it, I see much stronger demand for natural gas on the horizon (I gave readers of my Scarcity & Real Wealth newsletter six or seven iron-clad reasons why recently. Click