COLUMBUS, Ind. — Retail sales of natural gas-powered Class 8 trucks have slowed since diesel prices began decreasing, according to the latest data from ACT Research.
Natural gas truck sales were up year-over-year in June, but down so far this year to date.
The industry forecaster originally projected there would be a 5% penetration of natural gas trucks in the Class 8 market this year, but based on 2014 actual results and declining diesel prices, it now says that forecast is “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’s senior partner and general manager. “However, this doesn’t mean the adoption of NG fuel has stopped or that there are no new developments that might lead to a future uptick in NG truck orders.”
Vieth pointed out natural gas fuelling infrastructure continues to be built. The analyst expects to see continued growth for natural gas vehicle adoption but doesn’t foresee double-digit sales expansion within the next few years.