Natural gas truck sales slowing

COLUMBUS, IN – Truck operators are ordering new equipment in record numbers, but they’re not turning to trucks fuelled by natural gas as quickly as was projected two years ago, according to a new report from ACT Research.

The LNG re-fuelling processACT attributes the rapidly declining cost of diesel with making the return on investment for adoption of natural gas less attractive. Original projections were that 2015 would see a 5 percent penetration of NG heavy-duty trucks, but based on 2014 actual results and the sharp drop in oil prices starting in Q4 last year, 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’s senior partner and general manager. He added that ACT has developed an NG equipment payback index as a quick reference tool for fleets evaluating a switch from diesel to natural gas, available on the company’s website.

ACT’s ‘Natural Gas Quarterly’ provides information on the current status of multiple factors that affect a decision to adopt natural gas. Included is a ‘dashboard gauge’ that looks at the fuel-price spread, public NG fueling infrastructure, NG equipment, and the number of NG heavy-duty truck sales.

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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