Gilligan said the combination of the abundance of domestically available fuel, engines built around diesel technology and industry support in terms of engines, trucks and infrastructure, are combining now to make natural gas the logical alternative fuel choice for commercial fleets.
He noted that the price gap between compressed or liquefied natural gas and diesel fuel appears substantial and stable, with diesel costing far more, and he pointed out that natural gas is produced domestically rather than in the Middle East, which helps to generate U.S. jobs.
But that doesn’t mean businesses must completely abandon diesel and gasoline. In fact, fleets should not think only in terms of one fuel or another, said Andy Douglas, national sales manager for Kenworth Truck Co., Kirkland, Wash.
“I’m going to challenge the industry on the notion of a zero-sum game,” he said. “It’s not about one fuel or the other. It will be both.” The key consideration, he said, is whether there is a fit for a natural gas-powered truck in a fleet’s operation and whether a company can identify strategic or competitive advantage.