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Switching 3.5M Commercial Trucks to Natural Gas Would Save 1.2M BBL of Oil a Day

natty gasReplacing 3.5 million medium and heavy vehicles with natural gas vehicles by 2035 would keep the U.S. from importing about 1.2 million barrels of day, or more than is currently being imported from Saudi Arabia daily, according to a new report.

That would represent a huge jump, however, considering that there were only 41,000 compressed natural gas vehicles on the road in the U.S. in 2007, plus about 2,600 vehicles fueled by liquified natural gas, according to the “American Fuel: Developing Natural Gas for Heavy Vehicles” (PDF) report from the Center for American Progress.

U.S. business is increasingly moving in the direction of powering commercial vehicles with natural gas.

For instance, Republic Services, a waste and recycling hauler, is adding 226 compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquified natural gas (LNG) trucks to 10 facilities in its Western region. About 20 percent of the trucks it’s adding to its fleet in 2010 will run on natural gas.

Natural gas trucks produce about 25 percent fewer emissions than conventional ones, according to Center for American Progress.

Replacing or retrofitting cargo vehicles to run on natural gas is one of 10 ways for the freight sector to reduce its environmental impact.

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3 thoughts on “Switching 3.5M Commercial Trucks to Natural Gas Would Save 1.2M BBL of Oil a Day

  1. While natural gas technology might make sense for some captive fleets such as refuse haulers, converting existing diesel trucks to natural gas makes no sense.

    In fact a March 31 report by the National Academy of Sciences to EPA and NHTSA did not contemplate any such switchovers of natural gas technology for reducing energy consumption. Instead it found that diesel engines could increase efficiency by up to 20 percent in the next ten years, (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12845#description.

    Today’s clean diesel trucks have the same levels of emissions as natural gas, erasing any past advantages in smog-forming compounds. The climate change benefit purported with natural gas in this analysis neglects to account for the expanded use of low-carbon renewable diesel fuels in the coming years that will make diesel more attractive — and the release of methane into the atmosphere from recovery of shale-gas– a key foundation of the analysis of having cheap abundant gas for many years to come. A study by Cornell University Dr. Robert Howarth noted that failure to consider this fact results in natural gas having 60 percent more emissions of GHG than either coal or diesel. http://www.dieselforum.org for more information.

  2. How does that information address that you’d still import 1.2 million barrels a day from Saudi Arabia or that the price of oil is rising while that of gas is going down? I don’t see the technology of the diesel being the limitation. The larger issue is the economics of fuel cost and the larger economy of import imbalance. Truck manufactuers will be able to continue making the same quality vehicles if a conversion is done but the difference is that the fueling dollar will stay in the US and drive additional work for haulers as US drilling creates new jobs.

  3. Rob Bartley hit the nail on the head here. What Schaeffer wrote about does nothing to address the costs of middle eastern fuel to the US in both money (high fuel costs, wars etc) and lives expended in those wars. Schaeffer’s point is immaterial to the great issues. I am looking him up now to see if he has some vested interest in oil.

    In fact if Brazil, China and India as well as the US followed this natural gas conversion we could put the middle east out of business in many aspects and they can just ride around on camels and fight among themselves from now on.

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