Bloomberg reported that Chrysler will sell natural gas powered pick-up trucks to US fleets this year. Chrysler currently has compressed natural gas engines in Europe. Chrysler thinks that natural gas is cheaper than other technologies such as electric cars which present “too many obstacles” such as the recharge time for batteries.

Market Watch expects the US trucking industry will gradually shift much of its fuel consumption towards natural gas over the next decade.  Cars and SUVs, on the other hand, are headed towards a hybrid future. Truck fleets are the easiest transportation sector to convert over time to natural gas, given the more centralized refueling points and periodic replacement of engines.

Con-way Freight will test compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks in the Chicago area this year says DC VELOCITY. The company will initially deploy them for local pickups and deliveries. Chicago was chosen because of easy access to CNG refueling stations. If the pilot project iseffective, the vehicles’ operations could be expanded to provide service within a 300- to 350-mile distance. The trucks are new builds and will be manufactured by Freightliner. Each vehicle is expected to cost about $30,000 above the price of a diesel-powered truck. Currently CNG costs about $1 a gallon versus $3.39 for diesel. The long-term success of the program will depend on driver acceptance of the new vehicles, the costs of maintaining CNG-powered vehicles, and the ability to build out refueling and maintenance infrastructure at a reasonable cost.

The city of Calgary, Alberta, Canada has decided to purchase 200 buses that will run on compressed natural gas reports the Calgary Herald. The city’s fuel costs are expected to go down by $11,120 per bus per year.

NGV Global News tells us that Pomona, California, has replaced its entire diesel powered refuse fleet with 22 trucks that run on compressed natural gas.

US Foods now has 5 trucks that run on CNG in Oklahoma we learn from Market Watch. The trucks will be used by the Oklahoma City Division to deliver food and related products to customers in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Texas, including restaurants, health care institutions and hotels.

The world’s largest airport shuttle provider, The Go Group, is converting their shuttles at several US airports to CNG and propane says The Sacramento Bee. Fuel savings are about $2 per gallon and offset the conversion costs.

The city of Columbus, Ohio will have a new CNG filling station reports WSYX ABC6. The new station is part of the city’s efforts to phase in new CNG vehicles. The station is being built mainly for city and corporate vehicles, but any driver with a credit card can use it to fill up.  It is expected to open in February.

Dominican Today says that motorists using CNG in that island country are saving up to 70% on their fuel costs.

NGV Global News tells us that Bolivia’s state-owned and operated petrol company is planning to populate the major route between the cities of La Paz, Cochabamba and Santa Cruz with five compressed natural gas (CNG) filling stations. In addition, another ten stations are planned for later installation along the country’s transportation backbone.  16 000 public transport vehicles were converted to natural gas in Bolivia in 2011. The government plans full conversion of the national public service fleet by 2015. Another 34,000 cars are planned for conversion to natural gas in 2012.  These conversions are all part of a national energy plan to reduce the import of high cost diesel fuel.

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