Photo courtesy of VW.

Photo courtesy of VW.

U.S. Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.) wants the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider natural gas vehicles in addition to electric vehicles while negotiating a solution to Volkswagen's emissions scandal.

Inhofe, who currently serves as chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. The EPA is now negotiating a plan with Volkswagen that may require the automaker to produce electrified vehicles.

"EPA would gain more value from including natural gas vehicles — including heavy-duty trucks — in the agreement to complement the EV path this administration continues to favor. This could significantly improve air quality in a less expensive, more manageable way than choosing to only support the advancement of electric light-duty vehicles," wrote Inhofe.

The senator's letter has been met with praise from the natural gas industry.

"Natural gas vehicles with the new ‘Near Zero’ engine, available on the market today, lower nitrogen oxide emissions by 90 percent or more over their diesel counterparts, and provide a cost-effective real-world answer to this challenge," said Clean Energy Fuels Corp. CEO Andrew Littlefair in a statement. "Only a comprehensive solution including both light duty electric vehicles, and natural gas vehicles in the medium and heavy-duty trucking markets, will be able to correct the damage caused to our environment."

Inhofe requested for a response from McCarthy about the EPA's plans by March 31, a week after Volkswagen is set to present a solution to the court.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet