This week Howard Rothman at Big Truck TV examined the future of natural gas in the trucking industry. Natural gas trucks are a touchy subject for many truck drivers who work over the road, and an attractive subject to people who manage local and regional fleets. While any new type of infrastructure roll out is costly and problematic, it appears that some very big names in the energy game are quickly getting on board; Shell Oil, General Electric, and Westport Innovations.
Early adopters have noted a few problems with the technology, mainly that the current generation of the tech seems to need maintenance much more often than diesel systems and that trucks have less towing power. While these things may mean much less to local and regional medium duty fleet owners, the negatives should be obvious to anyone in over-the-road trucking.
That doesn’t mean that alternative fuel companies are giving up on attracting the big rigs. Quite the opposite, actually. Clean Energy Fuels is already the largest provider of natural gas to the transportation industry, and it is preparing to ride the wave even higher as demand grows. The company currently operates more than 70 LNG fueling stations in 33 states, and plans to soon have approximately 150 as it builds out a “natural gas highway” on interstates connecting major cities across North America. It hopes to soon supply enough fuel for 28,000 trucks a day.