Natural Gas Technology

Could the trend toward natural gas as a fuel source transform your fleet operations? The need to control fuel costs is paramount throughout the trucking industry, so the advent of natural gas-powered engines has captured attention from managers of large trucking fleets and owner-operators, too.

Unfortunately, in recent years natural gas options have been limited to lesser-duty commercial truck engines. And that’s been a significant frustration for fleet managers. But now, Cummins has introduced their new Westport ISX12 G heavy-duty natural gas engine, paving the way for trucking operations with greater power needs to take advantage of this fuel-saving technology.

Plenty of power. Powerful savings.

Natural Gas TrucksThere’s no power shortage with the Cummins Westport ISX12 G, which provides 400 horsepower and 1,450 lb./ft. of torque. EPA-certified earlier this year, the engine meets both the agency’s 2013 regulations and new greenhouse gas and fuel efficiency rules that go into effect in 2014. And that’s not all. Cummins is also developing a 15-liter heavy-duty natural gas engine for highway applications that should be in production sometime in 2016.

The move toward natural gas isn’t surprising, when you consider it’s highly abundant and far less expensive than diesel. Even better, natural gas prices tend to be stable, whereas diesel prices are not only high but unpredictable. As the trucking industry also moves toward “greener” operations, natural gas is one of the most clean-burning, efficient fuels available today.

Manufacturers expect a surge in sales.

Natural Gas TrucksRepresentatives of Daimler Trucks North America, Navistar Inc., Paccar Inc. and Volvo Group all say that the long-awaited availability of bigger, stronger natural gas engines will likely produce a significant sales boost over the next few years, thanks to pent-up demand.

They project natural gas Class 8 truck sales will rise to about 4% of total sales this year alone, and to 10% by 2016. Natural gas-powered trucks represented just 2% of sales last year.

Fleet owners and managers say they are excited to finally have the options they’ve been looking for when considering truck models. Kenworth, Mack Trucks, Volvo, Navistar and Freightliner will all begin offering trucks that feature the Cummins Westport ISX12 G.

Freightliner’s extremely popular Cascadia 113 NG trucks will be available this fall, and can be specified to use either liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG). A variety of LNG and CNG tank options have been specially-designed to allow for increased range and provide high performance for many long-haul and other road applications.

As natural gas-powered truck sales rise, will you be among those who make the switch?


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