Natural gas powered fleets growing in the US

Houston, TX, US: Investment in road vehicles powered by liquid natural gas (LNG has grown at a rapid pace as fleets look to lessen operating costs and to take advantage of a growing network of fuelling stations says a report by Zeus Development Corporation.

It has published a survey of Northern America LNG-fuelled fleets identifying nearly 4,000 vehicles. The survey profiles 27 LNG-powered fleets in various stages of development, including UPS, Heckmann Corp., Waste Management, C R England.

Fleet operators are backing LNG-fuelled operations as a fuel-cost saving, environmentally friendly alternative to diesel-powered operations. “Some fleets are now issuing orders for hundreds of vehicles at a time. World-scale LNG traders were once hesitant to participate in downstream ventures due to risk and the relatively small size of markets,” says Charlie Pawlik, analyst, Zeus Development Corporation. “However, this is changing as more recognize the potential growth to be achieved should a sector of the transportation market convert to LNG fuel.”

One example is Distrigas of Massachusetts, which recently announced that it is fuelling the newly built Enviro Express fuelling station in Connecticut. Royal Dutch Shell and El Paso Corp have also pursued LNG transportation fuel markets.

The role of government intervention in affecting the growth of the LNG-powered market is also an important consideration.

“Southeast LNG and others view spotty regulations as a hindrance to implementing LNG-fuelled transportation,” Pawlik says. “The cost differences between LNG and diesel-powered vehicles are large enough that the participants are looking for predictability with respect to subsidies in order to make what are significant incremental investments.”