The Minnesota Trucking Association believes strongly in natural gas as a clean fuel for trucks. In fact, the support is so strong that it has planned the region's first industry-wide summit directed at those who own and maintain fleets of trucks.

The Natural Gas Summit is Oct. 17 at the Earle Brown Center in Brooklyn Center. Details are at It is open to those interested in learning more about the use of natural gas in commercial motor vehicles.

"The infrastructure is in place," said MTA President John Hausladen. "We have the natural gas supply, the engines, the distribution and fueling stations. We know we can increase the use of natural gas when we talk candidly about what it takes to add natural gas trucks to your fleet and what it takes to upgrade service facilities to maintain them."

Kwik Trip out of LaCrosse, is already a regional leader operating much of its fleet with natural gas. Alternative Fuels Manager Joel Hirschboeck will provide a case study regarding their success in converting both their stores and fleets over to natural gas in the past two years. And Dave Oren, president of Eagan-based Dart Transit Company, will discuss their experiences using natural gas vehicles to serve Minnesota and regional shippers.

Other speakers for the summit include corporate representatives from key players in the development of natural gas across the United States, including: fuel supplier Clean Energy; engine manufacturer Cummins Westport; truck makers Kenworth, Volvo and Daimler; national leasing company Ryder Systems; and logistics leader UPS.