WASHINGTON - U.S. Senate Democrats last week unveiled an energy bill that includes $3.8 billion in rebates for natural gas-powered vehicles, the Dallas News reported. 

The bill proposes higher taxes on oil companies to pay for the natural gas vehicle subsidies. 

The proposed Senate bill provides a federal rebate of $10,000 to $64,000 per vehicle, depending on the vehicle's weight. The legislation also includes $500 million in grants to pay for natural gas fueling infrastructure and $2 billion in loans to U.S. manufacturers that build natural gas vehicles. 

House lawmakers are expected to vote on their version of the legislation before Congress breaks for recess in August. The House bill includes vehicle purchase tax credits for heavy-duty natural gas vehicles, the reinstatement of per-gallon tax credits for natural gas fuel for 2010 and through 2011, and investment tax credits aimed at encouraging domestic manufacturing jobs related to clean energy technologies.

The legislation drew praise from Clean Energy Fuels, a major provider of natural gas -- CNG and LNG -- for transportation in North America.

The legislation "will help fund natural gas vehicle purchases, particularly heavy-duty trucks, support growth in natural gas fueling infrastructure nationwide, and provide loans to support domestic manufacturing of alternative fuel vehicles," said Andrew J. Littlefair, Clean Energy president and CEO.

Littlefair added that the proposed legislation also may result in more than 500,000 new direct manufacturing and labor jobs and other related indirect jobs. The fueling infrastructure created could effectively build the framework of a national natural gas fueling network with as many as 400 LNG fueling stations for regional trucking and more than 1,000 CNG/LNG multi-use fueling stations in urban centers.