April 24, 2012. Natural gas could be a viable fuel for the trucking industry, despite higher upfront costs to install the appropriate engine technology in these vehicles. In a new report, The Conference Board of Canada estimates that converting fleets to natural gas could generate savings of approximately $150.000 per truck over a 10-year period. This saving is nearly twice the cost of installing a natural gas engine - estimated at $80.000 per vehicle.
Vijay Gill, co-author of Cheap Enough? Making the Switch From Diesel Fuel to Natural Gas, said their models indicate that while the capital costs are high, the savings from lower fuel costs make natural gas an economically viable fuel for the trucking sector. He added that trucking firms could reap significant net benefits in operating costs while also reducing their environmental impact.
This report considers the potential for natural gas as an alternative to diesel as a transportation fuel for heavy-duty trucks in particular, as well as for rail and marine operations. It focuses primarily on modelling the impacts of trucks powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), since it out-performs compressed natural gas (CNG) in terms of range.
The financial impact of converting trucking fleets to natural gas includes the expected operating cost savings over the life cycle of the vehicle, the additional upfront capital costs, and the impact of fuel taxes and capital cost allowances.
The Conference Board's Centre for Transportation Infrastructure (CTI) promotes the development, maintenance, and efficient operation of transportation networks. It brings together business and government leaders to discuss critical issues, ranging from the challenge of financing transportation investments, to the efficient and sustainable use of existing capacity.