Australia is building the world’s first high speed passenger ferry powered by LNG (liquefied natural gas) reports NGV Global News. The Lopez Mena (see photo above) will operate on the River Plate between Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo in Uruguay. The vessel is described as “the fastest, environmentally cleanest, most efficient, high speed ferry in the world.”  With capacity for almost 1000 passengers and 140 cars,  it has a projected operating speed of 50 knots and will be able to compete with airlines flying between these cities.

The Swiss have chosen a Fiat powered by CNG (compressed natural gas) as their 2013 eco-friendly Car of the Year. NGV Global News says the Fiat Panda TwinAir Turbo Natural Power is the first car in the world to be fitted with a bi-fuel (CNG/petrol) two-cylinder engine with turbocharger. in addition to having access to European town centres with environmental traffic restrictions, the CNG Panda can use underground car parks and travel on ferries.

Environmental Expert directs us to a study about the North American compressed natural gas vehicle market. TechNavio forecasts the CNG market in North America will reach 0.2 million units by 2015. The report predicts the CNG market will benefit from stricter emissions standards for vehicles in North America going forward. Meanwhile, Daily Finance refers us to a Pike Research study that finds North America will trail the rest of the world in sales of NGVs over the next 7 years. The Asia Pacific region is rapidly becoming the world’s largest market for natural gas vehicles due to strong growth in markets such as Thailand, India, and China. North American annual sales will reach only 37,000 by 2019 – just over 1% of the world market, which is expected to reach 3.2 million in annual sales by that year. “The lack of widely available refueling stations, the absence of government incentives for purchasers, and low consumer awareness of NGVs will keep the North American market to just a fraction of the total world market.” You can access the study here.

The Toledo Blade tells us that buses and trucking fleets are driving the demand for natural gas-powered vehicles in the US while Tulsa World notes that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has added 160 natural gas vehicles to its fleet.

Qatar has opened a pilot CNG refueling station in the city of Doha we learn from NGV Global News. The station is part of a feasibility study which is exploring the use of CNG as an alternative fuel for road transport in the country.

NGV Global News introduces us to a natural gas savings calculator for US fleet operators. A collaboration between U.S. natural gas utilities and producers has created the Natural Gas Fleet Savings Calculator to help fleet owners conduct a preliminary analysis of  the total costs associated with converting a fleet, or part of a fleet, to natural gas fuel. In the US natural gas is 47% less expensive on average than equivalent gallons of gasoline and 59% less than equivalent gallons of diesel. You can access the calculator at the bottom of the article.

The US state of Pennsylvania is providing grants for the conversion to natural gas vehicles reports the Tribune-Democrat. The state is making $20 million available over the next three years to help in the initial purchase and conversion costs of heavy-duty natural gas vehicles. The grants will pay up to 50% of the cost of vehicle purchase or retrofit cost per vehicle with a cap of $25,000 per vehicle. Eligible vehicles must weigh 14,000 pounds or more and be fueled with compressed natural gas or liquified natural gas. Bi-fuel vehicles are also eligible.


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