More and More Trucks and Buses Are Switching to Natural Gas

Across America, companies are converting their vehicle fleets to natural gas. So too are public transit agencies, municipalities, and state agencies of all shapes and sizes. The reason? A simple one: big savings.

Natural gas costs about $1.50 to $2 per gallon equivalent less than gasoline and diesel. And when it comes to making tight budgets work, hat can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings for vehicles that guzzle the most fuel.

“Now that you can save a dollar or two dollars a gallon, there’s huge interest in the market, especially in those fleets that use a lot of fuel,” said Richard Kolodziej, president of the Natural Gas Vehicles for America.

Waste Management, the¬†nation’s largest trash hauler, is one of many examples of this trend. The company¬†has committed to replacing 80 percent of its fleet with trucks powered by natural gas. Rich Mogan, Waste Management’s district manager in southwestern Pennsylvania, said about half of his fleet of 100 trucks now run on the cheaper fuel. They are quieter and less expensive to maintain, Mogan said, and “we are looking at a 50 percent reduction in our (fuel) cost.”

Natural gas vehicles aren’t new. Cars and trucks have been running on alternative fuels such as natural gas and propane for decades. But America’s abundant supplies of natural gas have led to rock-bottom prices. That has made cleaner-burning natural gas an ideal transportation fuel.

“It’s simply a matter of time before the U.S. meaningfully shifts from transportation systems built around consuming high-priced oil to consuming low-priced domestic natural gas,” Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon wrote to investors this year.

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