Natural gas transition needs funding plan, OTA report outlines

by Truck News

TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) has released a report – Natural Gas as an Alternative Fuel for Canadian Truck Fleets: A Roadmap Toward Implementation – to assist the provincial government in the design of a heavy truck natural gas program.

The report underscores two areas where funding is required from fleets to make the transition to natural gas vehicles: vehicle and station costs; and ancillary costs.

The OTA said though vehicle and station costs are well understood, ancillary costs, such as management time for fleet transition evaluation, required facility upgrades, driver training and other change management expenses are not.

And the OTA is calling on the government program to fund up to $60,000 per natural gas vehicle to help offset the cost differential of a diesel engine, as well as provide carriers with access to the same incentives given to fuel suppliers to build fueling stations.

“These ancillary expenses can make up to 10% of the overall cost of switching to natural gas vehicles. Without assistance and funding in these critical areas, fleets can easily become frustrated, making a successful conversion to natural gas vehicles less likely,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski. “Trucking companies are in the business of moving freight; we are not fuel transition experts. The more the Government of Ontario’s program assists the industry in making a seamless transition to natural gas, and the greater the likelihood the program will be successful.”

A study commissioned by the OTA and completed by the Rustbelt Group estimates the vehicle and infrastructure cost for a 20-truck fleet to be $3.4 million, with ancillary costs added $325,000.

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