In a commentary at ROLL CALL we are told the time for natural gas trucking in the US is now.
Cleaner, cheaper and more abundant than any other alternative vehicle fuel, natural gas is a clear winner…The United States needs to adapt its heavy-duty, long-distance fleet to use natural gas, which would reduce the energy, time and environmental cost significantly…This market currently consumes 30 billion gallons of diesel annually, much of which is imported. A conversion to natural gas could represent huge savings for shippers, carriers and eventually consumers, given the high cost of diesel…The United States has been called the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas.” It’s inconceivable to be sitting on a resource of this size and to not be using it to its full political, economic and environmental advantage here in this country.
The author, the CEO of natural gas refueling infrastructure company Clean Energy Fuels Corp. argues the US government can lead the way by converting federally-owned trucking fleets to NG, providing incentives for the trucking firms to convert their fleets to NG, and by taxing NG at the same level as diesel fuel.
In a related post, the Vancouver Sun tells us how trucking firms in the Canadian province of British Columbia are moving into natural gas. See also Waste & Recycling News which tells us about the plans of Progressive Waste Solutions. Already having Canada’s largest fleet of natural gas waste and recycling trucks (110), the company expects to have 150 by the end of this year and eventually will have half of its North American fleet of 1000 trucks running on this fuel. See also HUFF POST BRITISH COLUMBIA, Natural Gas Trucking: A Made-in-B.C. Success Story.
While natural gas vehicles are in their infancy in North America, they are surging in Asia (China, Pakistan, India and Iran). Business Insider has a chart that shows the growth in the number of NGVs by region over the past decade. According to the Gas Vehicles Report, worldwide there are almost 16 million natural gas-powered vehicles. The top six countries, including Pakistan, Brazil, India and China, account for more than 10 million vehicles.
From NACS we learn the US state of Pennsylvania announced last week it is providing $10 million in incentives for companies and organizations to convert light-weight to medium vehicles to run on natural gas.
INAUTONEWS reports Italy’s largest automaker Fiat prefers compressed natural gas vehicles over hydrogen fuel cells. Fiat makes the “natural-power” Panda, a vehicle that can burn either gasoline or CNG. Fiat believes that fuel cells offer no efficiency advantages over the standard automobile engine and hydrogen is more expensive to transport by pipeline compared with natural gas.
TheGreenCar noted the UK has opened its first bio-LNG (liquified natural gas) refueling station. Located in Daventry, the fuel is a mix consisting of 85% LNG and 15% liquefied biomethane. The latter is produced from organic matter such as household food waste, sourced from Surrey. Bio-LNG can cut diesel fuel costs by 20-30%. This station is the first of 8 to be built in the UK by the end of 2015. The stations will be located conveniently near motorway junctions so that 85% of the UK’s heavy-duty trucks will have a least one location within a four hour’s drive.
China.org says Beijing plans to increase the number of taxis that run on natural gas from the current 99 to 2,000 by the end of July. Beijing now has 2,000 vehicles powered by natural gas, and that number is expected to be 10,000 by 2013, which will include 2,000 taxis, 3,143 city buses, and vehicles for some driving schools, the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau said. The city hopes to add more than 30,000 additional natural gas vehicles by the end of 2017, which will include 7000 buses.
US electric and natural gas utility CenterPoint Energy Inc. says it will be adding 35 natural gas vehicles to its fleet for use in company operations in the states of Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota and Mississippi. Next-Gen Transportation News tells us this will bring the number of NGVs in its fleet to 85 by the end of this year. The company will also begin supplying natural gas service to 17 new CNG fueling stations located in its service territory.
Currently across the US a gallon of gasoline sells for $3.60 on average, while a gallon of compressed natural gas costs $2.10.
St. Louis airport has added a CNG refueling station to power a fleet of 160 vehicles that operate at the airport. St. Louis Public Radio tells us the general public are also invited to use the station. The plan is to have 85% of the airport’s fleet running on compressed natural gas.
A police department in the US state of Oregon is running 10 patrol cars on propane autogas. The department expects to save $20,000 a year on fuel according to Green Car Congress.