A Made-in-America fuel source may soon be moving tractor-trailers across the U.S.
Carriers like Ryder System Inc. are buying long-haul trucks that run on natural gas, around $1.50 a gallon cheaper than diesel. As adoption grows, Clean Energy Fuels Corp. and Westport Innovations Inc. plan to profit from a marriage of technology and domestic energy that has the political blessing of President Barack Obama and the financial backing of T. Boone Pickens.
Using natural gas could cut fuel costs by more than $20,000 for a truck traveling a typical long-haul distance of 100,000 miles (161,000 kilometers) a year, according to JMP Securities LLC’s Shawn Severson. Shares in Clean Energy and Westport are up at least 30 percent since the end of last year.
Ryder, United Parcel Service Inc. and Dillon Transport Inc. are among those purchasing the vehicles. Dillon began moving Owens Corning Inc. freight last month using LNG trucks. The Burr Ridge, Illinois-based carrier refills 14 trucks at a Clean Energy station along Irving Boulevard in Dallas slated to open for public use in May.
“Nobody can beat us on rates right now if we have the gas component in place,” said founder Jeff Dillon, who started the business 32 years ago with one truck and now owns 350. “We’ve probably got about a three-year window to have the advantage.”