The US city of Shelton, Connecticut has purchased 60 propane autogas-powered school buses reports Next-Gen Transportation News. The city will be choosing among 7 competitors to decide which one will build propane refueling infrastructure at the city’s bus yard.  Meanwhile, two school boards in the Chicago area are adding 45 propane-powered school buses and the city of Bozeman, Montana will have 50 propane powered school buses according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

The same source tells us the police department in the US city of Raleigh, North Carolina has added 30 police vehicles that run on propane autogas.  This is in addition to 20 police cruisers already operating on propane.

Market research firm TechNavio analyses the compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle market in Europe over the next few years. This market is forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.84%t over the period 2012-2016. The leading manufactures of CNG vehicles are Daimler AG, Fiat S.p.A., General Motors Co., Peugeot Citroën S.A., and Volkswagen AG. One of the key factors contributing to this market growth is the lower fuel costs associated with the use of CNG. The CNG vehicle market in Europe has also been witnessing technological advancements from original equipment manufacturers  and conversion of CNG vehicles to CNG or bi-fuel vehicles (petrol/CNG).

Railway Age discusses the economic and environmental advantages of using liquified natural gas (LNG) as a fuel in the rail sector. This was a topic of discussion at the 2013 GE Transportation/Northern Southern Railroad Sustainability Symposium in Norfolk, Virgina. LNG locomotives could be in widespread use in North America by 2016 or 2017 as the cost savings of switching from diesel to LNG is estimated at $200,000 per locomotive. The post discusses the technical and regulatory issues that must be addressed before railways are able to switch to LNG.

The energy collective wonders if natural gas can fuel a trucking revolution in North America. If so, it will likely be led by heavy-duty trucking, given the low cost of US natural gas compared to gasoline and diesel fuel. Currently in the US trucking companies can save $1-2 per diesel-equivalent-gallon in fuel costs by switching to LNG. A successful transition to LNG for trucking will require a combination of fuel availability, including retail refueling infrastructure, as well as high utilization to offset the higher costs of manufacturing these trucks.

Fuel transitions take time…It took more than 40 years for diesel to displace gasoline from heavy-duty trucks in the mid-20th century.  A lot could happen along the way to a multi-decade shift from diesel to LNG and CNG, including new cellulosic biofuels or battery breakthroughs.  For now, though, gas looks like a strong contender to provide a cleaner, cheaper fuel with sufficient energy density to be practical for long-distance trucking.  This is a trend worth watching.

Daily Finance asks: What’s Stopping Mass Adoption of Natural Gas Vehicles?  Ian Scott, the executive vice president of Westport Innovations, which makes natural gas engines for trucks, agrees with the previous commentator – the overriding barriers to CNG and LNG reaching a mass market in North America are the lack of refueling infrastructure and the substantially highers costs of NGVs compared with similar petroleum vehicles.

For its part, the Business Recorder thinks it will be at least a decade before natural gas is an effective competitor in the US transportation market while National Geographic thinks a long road looms ahead before we see ubiquitous natural gas cars.

The popular Ford 150 pick-up truck will have a CNG option for its 2014 model in North America writes NGV Global News. The bi-fuel vehicle will be able to operate on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems.

In Thailand, Japanese automaker Nissan has introduced the Navara CNG pick-up truck we hear from NGV Global News. The vehicle is powered by a 2.5 L 16 valve engine which generates 154 horsepower.  It is expected to reduce fuel costs by two thirds compared to a conventional petrol engine.

 

 

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