While it’s true that truck drivers and fleets are ordering new equipment like there’s no tomorrow, they aren’t turning to tractors fueled by natural gas as rapidly as had been projected just two years ago.
That’s the most recent news on LNG and CNG in a just-released report from ACT Research titled, Natural Gas Quarterly, which attributes the rapidly declining cost of diesel with making the return on investment for adoption of natural gas less lucrative — and less attractive to trucking industry players.
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 the fourth quarter of last year, the ACT Research 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,” said Ken Vieth, ACT’s senior partner and general manager, adding, “Payback periods are lengthening.”
Vieth said ACT has developed an NG equipment payback index as a quick reference tool for fleets evaluating a switch from diesel to natural gas.
The Natural Gas Quarterly provides information on the current status of multiple factors that impact a decision to adopt natural gas. Included is a “dashboard gauge” that looks at the fuel price spread, public heavy-duty NG fueling infrastructure, NG equipment, and the quantity of NG heavy-duty truck sales.
ACT is the leading publisher of new and used commercial vehicle industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American market, as well as the U.S. tractor-trailer market and the China commercial vehicle market. Major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers use its commercial vehicle services.