Natural Gas Vehicles

Vehicles That Run on Natural Gas

2015 Natural Gas Trucks - Trucks That Run on Natural Gas

For the most part, diesel fuel has been the only alternative available to truckers for a very long time. Finally, now there is a new alternative. This alternative is 2015 natural gas trucks. Trucks that run on natural gas are not only more fuel efficient, but are much friendlier to our environment.

Trucks in many ways are the lifeline of our nation. Our food supply, clothing, household goods, and most all other products that sustain our lives are transported, for the most part, through the trucking industry. When the price of fuel goes up, it affects every area of our lives. It’s not just our own personal transportation costs that increase with the cost of fuel. The additional cost that truckers incur is passed on to the clothing store, hardware store, convenience store, and so forth. These stores in turn tack on additional costs to their goods, and we the consumers, end up paying for it all, in the end. That’s why trucks running on natural gas can be a healthy choice for all of us.

What trucks are the best candidates for converting to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)?  Garbage trucks, delivery trucks, cement trucks and utility trucks would save the most money because they use more fuel. The more local the business or entity is, the better fit CNG is.  Why is that?  There currently aren’t good systems for fueling trucks in place, across the nation. However, local businesses could have their own fueling stations, which would support local trucking needs. As the distance increases from the trucking headquarters, the lack of stations, impact them even more. The only disadvantage for local trucking companies and local government agencies is the initial cost of the vehicle; the cost of converting diesel engines to natural gas.  The cost to convert most diesel trucks to natural gas runs between $11,000 and $20,000. 

In many states, there are tax incentives for the businesses that use more fuel efficient vehicles. The tax savings, in many cases, pays for much of the fuel costs.  On top of that, the air quality is improved significantly.  Some cities are replacing most, if not all, of their trucks with natural gas trucks.  These vehicles are also even more fuel efficient in a stop-and-go type of driving pattern.  Natural gas garbage trucks and utility trucks owned by local companies and local governments are a perfect fit.  Compressed natural gas trucks are certainly a vehicle for the present and for the future.

Local government agencies that convert their trucks over to natural gas typically install their own fueling stations. Some of these are then made available to the public. You may ask why a trucking company, or a city government, would want to invest in natural gas vehicles.  Are there advantages to natural gas trucks over conventional diesel trucks?  The answer is, “yes, quite a bit.”  In states like California, where air quality regulations are very stringent, a cleaner burning engine can help cut down on pollution considerably. 

Are there other advantages compressed natural gas vehicles have that make them attractive?  The cost of fuel plays heavily into the equation.  In most parts of the United States, natural gas is still at or slightly above $2 per gallon.  One thing that is contributing to trucking companies going out of business is the cost of fuel.  Those prices just keep climbing.  By saving 40-60% on fuel, the savings can be passed on to the consumer, so it helps us all. 

With the price of natural gas so much lower than gasoline and diesel, it is really appealing to think about owning a natural gas vehicle. There are two types of natural gas vehicles; the CNG (compressed natural gas) and the LNG (liquefied natural gas).  The only American natural gas car manufactured is a CNG.  This is the same type as the natural gas bus or natural gas trucks that are manufactured and operated throughout the U S.  A good site to find stations and prices across the US, Canada and Europe is www.cngprices.com. Additionally, www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/locator/stations/ is a good website provided by the U.S. Department of Energy.

A number of trucking companies have already committed to switching to natural gas trucks. UPS added 167 Compressed Natural Gas CNG delivery vehicles to their fleets in California, Georgia, and Texas in 2008.  They brought on an additional 48 heavy tractor trucks equipped to run on liquefied natural gas (LNG) in early 2011, for a total of 59 LNG trucks.  They expect these new natural gas trucks to put out 25% fewer greenhouse emissions than the diesel engines they used previously. They also expect to use 95% less diesel fuel than before.  Of the total 1,914 alternative fuel vehicles UPS has worldwide, 1,100 now run on LNG or compressed natural gas.  FedEx, one of UPS’ competitors has finally caught on, and now has 58 trucks fueled by CNG, LNG, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

An interesting point is that most trucking fleets replace their trucks about every seven years. If a majority of trucking firms were to switch to natural gas trucks, it could happen on a big scale within five to ten years. 2015 trucks running on natural gas are a great alternative to diesel trucks.