Natural Gas – Conversions, Vehicles and Technology

Natural-Gas Trucks Not Part of Truck Sales Boom

April 23, 2015

Love's opened a fast-fill CNG station in Willis, Texas. Photo courtesy Love's.
Love's opened a fast-fill CNG station in Willis, Texas. Photo courtesy Love's.

Truckers are ordering new equipment in record numbers, but are not turning to natural gas fueled heavy-duty trucks as fast as had been projected two years ago, according to a new report from ACT Research.

The rapidly declining cost of diesel is making the return on investment for adoption of natural gas less lucrative, according to ACT's “Natural Gas Quarterly." Original projections were that 2015 would see a 5% penetration of natural-gas-powered heavy duty trucks, but based on 2014 actual results and the sharp drop in oil prices starting in the fourth quarter of 2014, the report calls that optimistic.

“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,” said Ken Vieth, ACT senior partner and general manager.

ACT has developed a natural gas equipment payback index as a quick reference tool for fleets evaluating a switch from diesel to natural gas.


  1. 1. GRE FOREMAN [ April 24, 2015 @ 08:17AM ]

    And this is surprising why?
    The industry is surprised because trucking companies will not spend $50K to $100K more for a CNG truck that will lower production by as much as 60%--really! The fact that trucking companies are not purchasing CNG trucks as “anticipated” is testament to the fact that CNG trucks are not a “good fit” for the “bulk” of the industry.
    The advocates of CNG powered trucks simply “assumed” the industry would buy their “dog and pony” story. Reality dictates that purchase of CNG trucks bring a “fresh new hell”(thank U Sheldon Cooper) of problems beginning with increased cost of acquisition, required renovations to maintenance facilitates to meet federal, state and local standards, mechanic certification, increased insurance cost necessitated by the higher cost of the vehicle, and the lost of revenue owing to payload reduced due to the greater weight of a CNG truck versus a diesel powered truck.
    Furthermore, the assertion that less than anticipated sales of CNG trucks is in some way due to the “rapidly declining cost of diesel is both misleading, a misrepresentation of the multitude of factors entailed in the purchase and operation of CNG trucks. Trucking companies are more astute with respect to the logistics market served and what equipment best serves these markets than CNG advocates have given them credit. To attribute lower than “anticipated” sales of CNG trucks to the “temporary” decline in the cost of diesel(because we all know the current situation will not last forever) both minimizes and over simplifies a purchasing decision which in reality is far, far more complicated than advocates of CNG power would want us to accept.


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