A number of new natural gas or propane autogas vehicles are entering the market. GM will be bringing bi-fuel and compressed natural gas (CNG) pick-up trucks to market in North America in 2014 as well as the popular Chevy Cruze. Ford will have a propane and CNG Transit Connect Taxi next year. Korean auto maker Kia has introduced a propane autogas car in parts of Europe while Volkswagon would like to have a CNG car in the US market if certain conditions are met.  Spanish auto maker SEAT has added a compressed natural gas (CNG) model to its Leon family with the introduction of the Leon 1.4 TGI. Meanwhile Winnebago has a medium-duty CNG Metro Link public transportation vehicle which can be used for airport shuttles, public transit and similar applications.

Overdrive posted Natural gas 101: What owner-operators need to know and Truck News told us about the experiences of some of the first fleet owners to purchase LNG trucks. The latter were disappointed in that they obtained lower fuel economy and higher maintenance costs than they expected. This, in turn, has lengthened the pay-back period for these vehicles. Spend Matters looks at some aspects of the cost of converting to natural gas as an alternative to diesel and Fleet Owner examines the critical cost factors involved in converting to natural gas.

daily fusion tells us about a study by a Purdue University energy economist who found CNG buses are cheaper and greener than petrol. Wally Tyner’s study was specific to the Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corp. in the US state of Indiana but he says its results are applicable to all city bus fleets. The study evaluates economic and environmental impacts of the transit system using scenarios of buses fueled by compressed natural gas, diesel, and a hybrid of diesel and electricity.

The report concludes that CNG powered buses would be the lowest-cost option for CityBus in a 15-year project that examined expenses of buying buses, maintaining them and keeping them fueled. The diesel-electric hybrid would be the costliest. Even with the $2 million expense of building a natural-gas fueling station, the natural-gas system would cost $48 million over the span of the project, compared with $54 million for the diesel-electric and $48.5 million for the diesel-only, according to the report.

See also, Purdue study: Buses fueled by natural gas a better option now.

The Canadian province of Ontario is looking into the whether it should open a natural gas superhighway reports NGV Global News. If passed, the Natural Gas Superhighway Act would help stimulate the increased use of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a transportation fuel in medium and heavy duty vehicles on the province’s major transportation routes.

Mowasalat, Qatar’s state-owned transport company, is adding 60 new buses running on compressed natural gas to its fleet of vehicles according to NGV Global News. The country’s first CNG refueling station was opened last November.  Qatar is one of the leading natural gas producers in the world.

According to official statistics in the Central Asian country of Uzbekistan, 20% of all vehicles or some 600,000 run on natural gas. Unofficial sources put the figure at 1.8 million with many vehicles using equipment not meeting the official government standards.

NGV Global News tells us South Africa could become an emerging natural gas vehicle nation. The post highlights the various initiatives currently underway in that country to convert vehicles to natural gas.

The same source notes that Bolivia‘s state-owned and operated petrol company is beginning construction of a LNG plant to supply CNG for the growing number of natural gas vehicles in the South American country. The plant is expected to commence operations in the second half of 2014.

Transmission and Distribution World says there could be 30,000 CNG refueling stations worldwide by the end of this decade. According to Navigant Research,  North America will represent 40% of the global total refueling stations installed between 2013 and 2015, powered by the natural gas revolution on that continent.

Many of the competitors in the infrastructure market are focused on developing CNG refueling infrastructure within cities and suburban areas. CNG is largely used to serve light- and medium-duty vehicles that are likely to travel within a metro area or from one metro area to another without refueling. This infrastructure growth will help drive demand for NGVs within metropolitan areas. To connect different metro areas over longer distances, LNG is marketed as a replacement for diesel fuel, for use in fleet vehicles that travel extended distances.


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