As shippers, trucking firms, waste management companies, and municipal transit systems across the country work to lower the environmental impact of their fleets, natural gas is proving to be the solution they’re looking for. Among alternative transportation fuels, compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) offers a host of advantages from reduced emissions to lower costs.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, around 27% of bus fleets in America operate on natural gas.1
165,000 natural gas vehicles on the road today
Both public and private investment have led to the natural gas fleet movement. While most fleets nationwide are owned and operated by cities, buses, or refuse collection, a host of big names in private industry are operating natural gas fleets:
- Waste Management
- Saddle Creek
- FedEx Freight
- Fiat-Chrysler Transport
Why wait for electric?
Natural gas powered vehicles are so clean and efficient that many experts are saying the technology is “close enough” to near-zero that fleets should make the switch today instead of waiting longer for electric technology to catch up.
But as great as the vehicles are for the environment, businesses are also finding the investment is well worth it from a case study point of view. Scott Phillippi, the Senior Director of Automotive Maintenance at UPS, explained that environmental benefits alone would likely be insufficient to encourage adoption to the extent that we’re seeing.
“If it doesn’t make sense for the business, it’s going to be hard to push towards mass deployment, on the backs of subsidies, or technology that really isn’t what fits best for the business.”
According to FleetOwner.com, companies like Bimbo Bakeries are saving $500,000 per year on fuel costs alone after switching to CNG and other alternative fuel trucks and tractors. July 2020 numbers from the U.S. Department of Energy found average CNG prices were lower than gasoline and diesel across the country.
RNG guides the push towards near-zero
Renewable natural gas technology allows for additional reduction of greenhouse gases on top of significantly lower emissions than diesel. Vehicles fueled with waste stream RNG reduce lifecycle greenhouse gas effects by 80+%.2
Innovative near-zero natural gas engine technology is also 90% cleaner than the EPA’s most rigorous qualifications for oxides of nitrogen2, making natural gas fleets fueled by RNG a central opportunity for the immediate and substantial reduction of NOx and CO2 emissions in the heavy-duty transportation sector.