Fleets not turning to Natural Gas-powered trucks

An article posted on the trucking industry news site truckingnewsonline.com discusses the apparent reluctance of fleet owners and to turn to trucks fueled by natural gas.

The site reports that while truck drivers and fleets are ordering new equipment “like there’s no tomorrow,” they haven’t yet begun purchasing these trucks, which are supposed to be more environmentally friendly than standard diesel-powered trucks.

A report released from ACT Research titled “Natural Gas Quarterly” attributes the rapidly declining diesel fuel costs with lowering the return-on-investment of natural-gas powered trucks, which obviously makes them less attractive to trucking industry officials who make purchasing decisions.

While original projections predicted that 2015 would account for a 5 percent penetration of natural-gas heavy-duty trucks, based on 2014 actual results and the steep oil-price drops in the fourth quarter of last year, ACT says that figure is at best “optimistic.”

ACT senior partner and general manager Ken Vieth, said in the article, “With the price differential between diesel and natural gas narrowing, the ROI to convert from diesel to natural gas is moving in the wrong direction. Payback periods are lengthening.”

Vieth added that ACT has develop natural gas equipment payback index as a “quick reference tool” for fleets who are considering switching from diesel fuel to natural gas.

“The Natural Gas Quarterly” provides information on the status of several factors that impact the decision for most truck and fleet owners to adopt natural-gas powered vehicles, and includes a dashboard gauge that evaluates the fuel price spread, the public heavy-duty natural gas fuel infrastructure, natural gas equipment, and the number of natural gas heavy-duty truck sales.

ACT is a leading publisher of new and used commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North America and the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China commercial vehicle market. Major North American truck and trailer makers  and suppliers use its commercial vehicle services.