With the completion of its LNG truck fueling station in Matthews, Missouri this month, natural gas provider Clean Energy Fuels Corp. concludes the first stage of America’s Natural Gas Highway® (ANGH), a network of liquefied natural gas (LNG) truck fueling stations to support long-haul, heavy-duty goods movement along major interstate corridors throughout the United States.Speaking at last week’s American Trucking Associations Summit on Natural Gas in Trucking, Andrew Littlefair, Clean Energy President and CEO, said, “We have created America’s Natural Gas Highway to support the growing number of long-haul truckers and shippers who are deploying factory-built, heavy-duty trucks powered by natural gas fuel. LNG-fueled trucks can now travel the country and reap the benefits of fuel cost savings, reduced dependence on foreign oil, and the lower emissions profile that characterizes this abundant American resource.”
By the end of 2012, Clean Energy will have completed 70 new LNG truck fuel stations along highways that link major U.S. metropolitan areas. Many of these stations are located at existing Pilot-Flying J truck stops. Pilot is the nation’s largest truck-stop operator with more than 550 retail properties in 47 states. In 2013, Clean Energy plans to build 70 to 80 additional LNG fuel stations adjacent to long-haul trucking routes and around major warehouse distribution centers in North America. Major highway segments now completed include, among others, those linking the Southwest Corridor, Los Angeles to Atlanta, The Texas Triangle, Atlanta to Chicago to Texas, and major corridors in the Midwest and Northeast.
Clean Energy noted that an iPhone app station locator will be available by the end of the year to complement its web-based locator at www.cnglngstations.com.
The LNG fueling stations coincide with the arrival of new natural gas truck engines well suited for heavy-duty, over-the-road trucking. At the ATA Summit, executives from engine manufacturers and original equipment truck manufacturers such as Cummins-Westport, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Navistar, Freightliner and Volvo presented their plans to rollout a variety of Class-8 trucks and engine sizes allowing for varied road and driving requirements. Jim Arthurs, President of Cummins Westport Inc., reiterated the scheduled launch of the much-anticipated ISX 12 G natural gas engine to begin in Spring 2013 with full production and delivery by Fall 2013.
Presenting at the Natural Gas Summit, Governor Bill Graves, President and CEO of the ATA, called the trucking industry’s transition to natural gas “historic” and compared it to two other major milestones in the industry – deregulation and the formation of the ATA. ATA Chairman Michael Card, who is also president of Combined Transport Inc., said “We are truly at the cusp of a potential revolutionary change in the trucking industry” as it moves toward more use of natural gas as a transport fuel.
Clean Energy’s ANGH stations are in addition to the ongoing CNG station building planned for the company’s traditional markets in transit, refuse, airport/taxi/shuttle and local/regional trucking, which activity accounts for 62 station projects in 2012 and is expected to account for approximately the same number in 2013.
Currently priced up to $1.50 a gallon lower than gasoline or diesel depending on local markets, the use of natural gas fuel reduces operating costs for vehicles and reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 30% in light-duty vehicles and 23% in medium to heavy-duty vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that 98% of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is sourced in the U.S. and Canada, making natural gas a secure North American energy choice.
(This article compiled using information from a Clean Energy Fuels press release)