Financial benefits boost NG vehicle sales


Natural gas (NG) vehicles are becoming increasingly attractive options in commercial markets, especially with traditional trucks and buses using significant amounts of fuel and emitting high levels of greenhouse gases.

Sales of natural gas trucks and buses will increase steadily over the remainder of the decade with more than 930,000 vehicles sold worldwide from 2012 to 2019, according to Pike Research.

NG trucks typically run on compressed natural gas (CNG) because their tanks weigh less and are less costly than those for liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG trucks, however, are increasingly used as longer range vehicles (400 miles or more compared to 150 to 300 miles for CNG vehicles) and are seeing higher growth rates than CNG trucks (17 percent versus 14 percent in heavy duty trucks).

The worldwide breakdown of refueling stations for these two types of natural gas is 117 LNG refueling stations versus 20,233 CNG refueling stations. About 45 percent of the LNG refueling stations are located in the United States, even though China has the largest annual sales for LNG fueled trucks, with 3,020 vehicle sales in 2012, according to Pike.

"NG vehicles emit substantially lower levels of GHGs, particulate matter, and nitrogen oxide than either gasoline- or diesel-powered trucks and buses," said Pike senior research analyst Dave Hurst. "What's more, compared to diesel engines, natural gas provides a financial benefit. In most cases, the higher incremental cost of an NG vehicle is typically recovered, due to lower fuel costs, within two to seven years."

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