CNG Gains More State Government Support

2013_chevrolet_silverado hd CNG II

Twenty-two governors have put their combined support behind a bipartisan initiative to encourage automakers to invest and develop more alternative and bi-fuel vehicles that are more functional and affordable than ever before. 

The initiative, developed more than a year ago, was the brainchild of Republican Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, and the pair recently announced that their efforts have produced great results. In fact, 22 states have committed to ordering 107 vehicles in a long-term plan to convert as many trucks in their vehicle fleets to compressed-natural-gas-based vehicles as possible. 

Among the big winners that hope to save taxpayers big dollars are Chrysler, Ford, GM and Honda dealerships that will sell a good cross-section of vehicles to state and local transportation agencies.

"This announcement represents a major success for CNG, and even more importantly, for our economy," Hickenlooper said. "We believe this is the start of a national movement to add much-needed fuel diversity to our nation's transportation sector while at the same time creating jobs and helping to grow local economies."

Among the vehicles purchased through local dealerships, most are full-size pickups and vans, including the Ford Super Duty and E-Series, the Ram 2500 HD CNG, the Chevy Silverado HD CNG and many others. Although CNG bi-fuel systems carry a premium cost, over the life of the vehicles, they should save each state a considerable amount of money, helping to move the country closer to foreign oil independence, putting fewer harmful emissions into the atmosphere, and supporting the local economies. 

"CNG vehicles represent a key component of the movement toward American energy independence," Fallin said. "Converting state fleets to CNG promotes the use of a cleaner-burning, more affordable fuel that is made right here in the United States and supports the creation of American jobs."

More than 100 bids were submitted by dealerships in 28 states throughout the nation representing Ford, Chrysler, GM and Honda. So far, there are about 1000 public CNG stations across the country, mostly in the more densely populated urban areas, but there is a plan underway to create a network of evenly-spread stations to make easy and convenient access much less stressful. As CNG is more widely accepted, we expect to see more uniformed fuel pricing and availability. 

Proposed CNG/LNG Network 

USA CNG-LNG map II

 

Comments

See my comments in the RAM CNG pickup to get my views. In brief, the economy of CNG is a good idea, but not at the cost of load capacity.

Ok if you look at and whatch the video on the Chevy link in the story you will know "the rest of the story" Chevy/GMC has the best #'s with the CNG conversions, in fact it is not a "conversion" at all but a factory option, with a lot more types of options available. I am going to look into this for my next truck perchase, I have even found a place nearby where I could re-fuel, and the best part is the cost! the fuel is about $2.00/gal cheaper! Not only that, but the distributors whole gas fleet of trucks run on CNG, and they report NEVER having to replace spark plugs, and the oil changes are only at 30,000 miles! when I asked them if that is even poss. the maint. man. told be that they could go a lot further than that, but he wont do it! out of habit, but he did tel me that they had the oils checked, and the placer that tested them demanded that they come back and change the oils themselves, seal the engines, and then come back in 30,000 miles, drain the oild and bring it back to there facility for testing, and told the maint. mang. that the oild could still be used for anouther 30,000 miles! but the owner of the fleet said to change the oil every 30,000 so that is what they do. It makes if a no brainer for me, I have heard about this before, but now it is easyer than ever, and make so much sence, that I have to try it! I don't know if I want to do it with a new truck, or just do it with the Chevy I have now, but the deals are so good right now that I just might make a move!

@sandman4X4 --That is something to go 30k on an oil change. Do they use regular oil or synthetic oil? I guess it wouldn't matter because with that kind of oil change interval oil change cost would be insignificant. I would probably use synthetic and go 30k. Natural gas is much cleaner burning as well and the would explain not having to change the spark plug. Just the maintenance alone would make CNG a good choice for fleets especially if you have a facility to fill up.

There are 16.4 million NGVs worldwide.
http://www.ngvjournal.com/en/statistics/item/911-worldwide-ngv-statistics

Sadly USA has only 112,000 of them. Its good that governors are getting into the act.

First build a CNG station every 100 miles, then expand it to every 50 miles and finally every 10 miles. As it spreads, the number of NGVs will also expand.

I see that both CNG & LNG stations are expanding in USA.
I wish bi-fueled vehicles with atleast 100 mile CNG range is introduced at lower cost.

How do they plan on increasing the number of CNG stations and usage?
More subsidies?
Socialization of refueling stations?

Quote:
"CNG vehicles represent a key component of the movement toward American energy independence,"

Energy independence will only happen if they invest trillions in alternative energy like solar/wind/nuclear powered electricity generation as well as upgraded infrastructure.

Dead dinosaurs are a finite resource just like borrowing money from the Chinese and Japanese.

@Lou
As most are aware, I believe alot of the shape US pickup market is due to regulation, subsidisation, trade barriers etc. CNG subsidisation/rebates, isn't the answer. How effective is a pickup when an HD has the load capacity of a dual cab Frontier/Tacoma, with limited range. Makes real sense.

Consumerism can't be based on subsidisation. Consumerism only works with supply and demand. Inefficient programs only cost the taxpayer.

There are parallels between this technology and EV/Hybrid technology. They aren't sustainable, as the taxpayer is footing the bill. A person driving a Focus or Corolla or who uses public transport is paying (borrowing) for this when the country isn't paying its way.

The infrastructure required to support all of these new technologies will increase not decrease as many different systems will be required to support future infrastructure requirements.

In my industry we use gasses with pressures of up to 4 500psi and we are required to have special training to handle this stuff.

I have seen a N2 hose let loose at 3 500psi and I'll tell you it was extremely dangerous. This stuff can and will kill if a fool is near it.

It would make more sense to have homes and industry regulated to use this stuff. Regulate your high polluting oil heaters out of existence and use this gas. It will probably be cheaper in the long run, as more people require central heating than motor vehicles.

Keep liquid petroleum fuels for motor transport.

The trillions spent on supporting the vehicle industry could have made a huge infrastructure network for home and industry.

@ Sandman......No disrespect but your info is very innaccurate. Ram HD is the only one that is built completely at the factory by the OEM with OEM parts under the OEM's roof. Ford and Chevy are both conversions done by Westport and IMPCO. The track record for the Chevy conversions out here (WY/CO) has been horrible, they are down all the time due to poor engineering of the aftermarket add on kits. (As an examplethe regulators are frame mounted and freeze up in cold temps, Ram's are underhood and heated). The Chevys go down all the time, and use piggyback add-on ECU's etc. that is just another thing to go wrong. None of those aftermarket add ons are on the Ram as it is all built at the factory, not shipped off to an upfitter down the road to be torn apart, modified, and put back together like the Ford and Chevy are.
We get lots of experience with these CNG trucks out in the oil fields.

@Big Al from Oz - decades ago propane was gaining popularity where I lived. As the price of propane increased interest wained. There were a few tragedies with propane. A 16 passenger bus hit a transport truck and exploded. All of the school kids on board were killed and a few taxi's met similar fates.

I think alot of people are missing the point here. In Oklahoma, if you happen to have a home fueling station, the cost for a "gge" or gasoline gallon equivalent of CNG is around 62 CENTS per gallon. Now, calculate your cost per mile. If your truck gets 15mpg and you'r paying $4.75/gallon for gasoline, you're paying nearly 32 cents per mile. Your cost on CNG would be around 4 cents per mile. From there' it's pretty easy to see that 100,000 miles worth of gasoline would run you $31,666 and CNG would run you $4,133 (if my math is correct). Or, let's figure mileage on CNG is only 12mpg. 100,000 miles will still only cost you $5,166. How about a worst case scenario of 12 mpg while being forced to buy CNG for $2.50/gallon at a public CNG fueling station? 100,000 miles costs you $20,833 in fuel. That's where the $10,000 premium on the conversion starts to become questionable, save for the reduced maintenance costs on your engine.
The benefit to CNG is that the cost/benefit calculations can work out WITHOUT government subsidies, unlike electric/hybrid cars.
Unfortunately, the reality for those of us who do not live in states with ample public fueling stations available is that you must spend $10,000 for a GOOD home fueling station and calculate cost/maintenance/depreciation/wear/power consumption into the cost of every gallon your home fueling station compresses. This is why the recent push to design and inexpensive & reliable home fueling station is so important.
Another MAJOR benefit is is that 97% of the natural gas that the united states uses is NOT imported. Our dependency on foreign oil (and obama's refusal to allow a pipeline in from Canada, among many other things) is probably going to catch us with our collective pants down very soon.... Wouldn't you like to be insulated/protected from wildly varying fuel prices?

@Leester
In Australia in the late 70s/early 80s we had a big push with LPG. The cost differential of using LPG was quite similar.

Even LPG which is a denser fuel uses large fuel tanks to store the gas. CNG is far worse, plus the pressures required for storage and pumping are incredibly expensive to manufacture. The costs of manufacturing these types of vessels will never be cheap.

The costs to develop and manufacture "conformance" style tanks to store this type energy more efficiently would also be prohibitively expensive.

Also, from what you wrote, is a justifiable reason to keep on having vehicles returning extremely poor economy. You will need an HD to do the work of a mid size.

Government subsidisation is ridiculous especially when 31c of every dollar your government spends is borrowed.

This type of energy is better used to generate electricity, bake cakes, industry and heat homes.

25% of the total US oil cut is used for "heating oil", this doesn't include diesel.

NY might be confronted with a diesel and heating oil shortage this winter which will drive up prices. The oil is apparently being sold to China.

Plus you need to increase your energy prices gradually to re-adjust your economy or start living within your means.

At home when you have no job you don't go out and buy a big V8, you buy what you can afford. You can't afford this technology when its being subsidised by the government's credit card.

How logical is a fuel when you need an HD to move the fuel tank.

I don't know what happened to the original post.

@Leester
In Australia in the late 70s/early 80s we had a big push with LPG. The cost differential of using LPG was quite similar.

Even LPG which is a denser fuel uses large fuel tanks to store the gas. CNG is far worse, plus the pressures required for storage and pumping are incredibly expensive to manufacture. The costs of manufacturing these types of vessels will never be cheap.

The costs to develop and manufacture "conformance" style tanks to store this type energy more efficiently would also be prohibitively expensive.

Also, from what you wrote, is a justifiable reason to keep on having vehicles returning extremely poor economy. You will need an HD to do the work of a mid size.

Government subsidisation is ridiculous especially when 31c of every dollar your government spends is borrowed.

This type of energy is better used to generate electricity, bake cakes, industry and heat homes.

25% of the total US oil cut is used for "heating oil", this doesn't include diesel.

NY might be confronted with a diesel and heating oil shortage this winter which will drive up prices. The oil is apparently being sold to China.

Plus you need to increase your energy prices gradually to re-adjust your economy or start living within your means.

At home when you have no job you don't go out and buy a big V8, you buy what you can afford. You can't afford this technology when its being subsidised by the government's credit card.

How logical is a fuel when you need an HD to move the fuel tank.

Big Al-
It's true that if you want a 15 gge tank, it could weigh several hundred pounds -- but that's not the only scenario where it's economical. Honda has been manufacturing the civic GX for 10+ years in the US market -- for quite a premium price over their standard civic. Dealers don't have a hard time selling them. Also, you have to take into account that it uses a much lighter (i.e. more expensive) composite tank. So, for a person who commutes a total of 150 miles per day, the cost for a regular civic at 35 mpg would be paying around 13.6 cents per mile. Doing the same 150 miles at a high-priced $2/gallon (you can easily find it for as little as $1.50/gallon in Utah) and a 30 mpg average would calculate to less than 6.6 cents per mile. In Utah, where there has become a massive "grey-market" of EPA Certified and Non-certified conversions, people are converting everything from Heavy duty trucks down to compact cars due to the cost savings.
So, you don't "need" to have a heavy duty truck just to accommodate the CNG fuel tank, due to the wide variety of Type 1, 2, 3, and 4 tanks available.

Now think bigger. If a semi truck has a 147 gallon saddle tank carrying 147 gallons of diesel at 7.15 pounds per gallon, there's 1,051 pounds of just fuel weight -- double that if you've got that same tank on each side of the truck. When you've got trucks that weigh 80,000 pounds going down the road, the weight of a CNG tank would be negligible compared to the combined weight of the truck & trailer. On another note, it's been estimated that 40% of the garbage trucks purchased last year had a CNG engine option.

Will the CNG bubble burst? Probably down the road - but I'd put more stock in the consistency & lack of fluctuation of CNG prices than I would of gasoline/diesel prices. So, a person could ride the CNG wave until it ends and then go on to the next greatest/cleanest/cheapest fuel.

Oh - forgot to mention that the federal government does NOT subsidize Natural for consumers, nor do they subsidize home fueling stations -- those tax credits expired at the end of 2011 and were mainly available as part of our presidents stimulus plan. An individual state (such as Utah) may subsidize CNG equipment/conversions, but most states do not. So, for the majority of us, a government subsidy/credit/tax benefit even a factor in the cost/benefit analysis of a conversion.

just to be a devils advocate, I may be wrong here but CNG and LNG are very diff. from propane? I do believe there is a diff.? for one thing propane is a lot more expensive and dangerous, and I would think the best part of either CNG or LNG would be very very clean exhaust! I would even wonder if we were to need catalitic converters anymore? and to WARFISH:::maybe you do have experiance in the field with them, but I know you can go to a GM dealer, and order a truck from the factory directly, and it have the factory warranty with it, hell you cn even go on-line and build it as such, and you can get it in any body style, 4x2 or 4x4, Work Truck, LT LTZ in any color thay have available, as far as Ford goes you can only get it in a Ext cab 4x4 XLT truck, and Ram is much the same, you have to get it in only one style, and the most expensive model listed, there is not much availablity either, but I will be able to order a CNG/Reg gas Chevy truck at any dealer, in any style I want, and not loose as much load cpacity, and still be able to tow the same, and plow with it!



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