Natural Gas Expected To Grow Despite Diesel Price Drop

November 11, 2014

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Fueling a natural gas powered heavy truck.
Fueling a natural gas powered heavy truck.

With the natural gas powered vehicle market seemingly stalled as diesel fuel prices have fallen much of the year the trucking industry research firm ACT Research has released the results of its updated findings on U.S. natural gas transportation fuel trends in the heavy duty truck market.

The report entitled, “NG Reality Check: Moving from Infancy to Adolescence,” is a comprehensive, forward-looking long-term analysis on the use of natural gas as fuel in the U.S. heavy Class 8 truck transportation sector, according to the firm.

ACT published its first comprehensive natural gas study in 2012. It was more bullish than this latest report, said ACT, reflecting the enthusiasm of the moment that included planned market and product development that has been slow to materialize with a narrowing fuel price spread and improving diesel engine fuel economy gains.

“The previous long-term penetration over-statement does not mean natural gas has not grown. It has and will continue to grow, but at a slower rate the next few years.” said Ken Vieth, ACT Research senior partner and general manager. “Natural gas Class 8 truck/transit bus penetration was 3% in 2013 and should reach 4% in 2014, or about 11,000 units.”

Looking at the most likely adoption curve, ACT believes Class 8 penetration is expected to total 23% of the units sold in 2025. If the total new U.S. Class 8 truck/transit bus market is 200,000 units that year, then the natural gas market would be 46,000 units.

“That’s a large quantity that will be shared by those with an understanding of tomorrow’s truck transportation needs and plans to get there,” said Veith, “Depending upon the emissions and greenhouse gas needs of the nation and the regulations put in place in coming years to achieve those needs, Natural gas penetration could even be higher since natural gas is equally available and is a cleaner, cheaper fuel than diesel.”

The report provides forecasts, insights and supporting analysis on major trends already taking place such as:

  • Natural gas engine technologies,
  • Natural gas fuel preference,
  • Infrastructure design, from fuel only to full service and fuels,
  • Emerging infrastructure investors and early natural gas adopters,
  • Return-on-investment adjustments as fuel cost spreads and up-charges change,
  • Miles per gallon versus cost per mile and
  • Shipper-trucker relationships from contracts to diesel fuel surcharges to going green and more.

More information about the report, including details on obtaining a copy, is on the ACT Research website.

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