I just read this story Hit the Gas! about natural gas as a fuel for heavy trucks over at Openmile’s Blog. It’s not really relevant to make a business decision based on the current market or the current trends. I believe that natural gas is an excellent fuel for heavy trucks, construction equipment, and even cars for several reasons. Still, because of the nature of the technology and the state of the infrastructure, I would only deploy it in localized fleets. Sanitation trucks, metro buses, and local freight and delivery trucks would be well served by this technology if the infrastructure is available.
For me, here in Southern California, that infrastructure is there. If I had a fleet of medium trucks making local deliveries, or even regional freight runs within about 200 miles or so it would be a no brainer. For heavy OTR and even regional trucks however, I would be forced to stick with diesel.
First, diesel is a lot cleaner than it used to be, and it’s likely to get cleaner. Second, a tank of diesel does a lot farther than a tank of CNG or even LNG. Third, the price of diesel will come down dramatically over the next two years or so. In fact, depending on a lot of factors, including national politics, I believe it is possible that the price of diesel, as well as regular gasoline, will be down around the $2.00 per gallon mark by the end of 2013.
Energy policy is going to be a major factor in the upcoming elections. Now that we know we’ve got more than enough resources right here in the USA it’s going to drive a large part of the electorate. I think this time we have a very good chance of getting enough of the right people in place to get things done that will make our capitalist system, especially the energy sector, work more the way it is supposed to.
Many, if not most businesses are not making any long term operational or expansion plans right now. We’re in the process of deciding which way the country is going to go. Once that decision is made, all entrepreneurial hell is going to break loose. Business will either be reaching for the sky, or diving into a hole for cover. I wouldn’t make any concrete plans about anything until that is sorted out.