Compressed Natural Gas Conversions
Whether you manage buses or commercial trucks, owner operators are looking to reduce their dependence on diesel and their operating costs. More than 95 percent of all heavy-duty trucks are powered by diesel, and they consume approximately 22 billions of fuel each year.Fleet owners looking to make changes are driven both by their goal to improve fuel economy and government regulations. Though price of diesel has dropped significantly in the past year, it's projected to steadily increase to $80 per barrel by 2020 or sooner, according to the latest forecasts by OPEC and US energy markets, barring any major supply disruptions due to political instability or acts of terrorism.On the regulation front, the U.S. EPA established a national program to reduce emissions from medium and heavy-duty trucks and buses through 2018.One way fleet owners can improve their fleet operations is to consider using compressed natural gas (CNG), a natural gas that comes primarily from domestic sources, has historically been less likely to experience major price volatility, and is better for the environment.
One of the biggest advantages of using CNG is cost reduction. Over the past decade, the price of oil has varied widely. Natural gas currently trades at a third of a cost of diesel, with only about 20% of the price of CNG at the pump coming from commodity compared to more than 70 percent of the cost of diesel. Natural gas is also decoupled from oil prices, with the vast majority of natural gas used in the U.S. being produced domestically.
In addition to offering more cost stability than gasoline or diesel fuel, CNG is also more beneficial to the environment. According to the Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center, it has lower carbon dioxide and smog causing emissions. Natural gas vehicles show an average reduction in ozone forming emissions of 80% compared to gasoline vehicles, according to California's Consumer Energy Center.
Currently, more than 99 percent of compressed natural gas comes from within the United Sates. This reduces the country's reliance on fuel from foreign countries. Consumption of CNG has increased by 145 percent over the past six years, driving construction of more infrastructure projects.
State governments offer a number of incentives for fleets to convert to natural gas. The EPA currently offers grant funds for fleets, as well as a retrofit program for buses. Information can be found on the U.S. Department of Energy website
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