Trucks fueled by liquefied natural gas are the most effective option for reducing our nation's oil use
, according to a study by Resources for the Future (RFF) and the National Energy Policy Institute (NEPI). LNG heavy-duty trucks would cut oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels per day in 2030.

The study, "Toward a New National Energy Policy: Assessing the Options," includes an economic analysis of more than 35 available policy options for reducing U.S. oil consumption and curbing carbon dioxide emissions through 2030. The LNG option is one of them and found to be the most effective. The analysis was conducted by RFF, an independent, non-partisan think tank aimed at helping policymakers and stakeholders make better decisions on energy, environmental and natural resource issues. Another contributor was NEPI, a non-partisan independent energy research organization, based at the University of Tulsa and funded by the George Kaiser Family Foundation.

"Targeting oil use by the nation's heavy-duty diesel truck fleet appears to make sense, as these trucks have particularly low gas mileage and travel so many miles per year," the report said.

The analysis considers a 10 percent penetration of new LNG heavy-duty trucks starting in 2011, rising over a 10-year period at an additional 10 percent each year. LNG would then account for 100 percent of new truck purchases by 2020. By 2030, LNG trucks would make up over 70 percent of the entire heavy-duty truck fleet, under this policy.

The study says the switch would also cut CO2 emissions by 1.8 billion metric tons between 2011 and 2030. The discounted value of policy costs would be around $186 billion.

The study also outlines some of the factors that have limited the use of LNG in trucks up until now, including the price of LNG vehicles compared to diesel or gasoline counterparts, the unstable prices of natural gas, problems with the energy paradox, and lack of fuel infrastructure.

"Also on the horizon, the price of LNG trucks could fall with increased production levels and, depending on the costs of bringing shale gas to market, fuel costs could either fall or rise more slowly than they otherwise would," the report said.

The analysis emphasizes that while there is no single "silver bullet" to address energy security and climate concerns, several cross-cutting policy combinations are available now to reduce dependence on foreign oil while also ratcheting down carbon emissions.

For more information about the study, click here.