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Natural Gas Truck Sales Expected to Grow

BOULDER, CO — Driven by lower costs and emissions, the trucking industry is slowly shifting towards natural gas engines.

A report by Navigat Research, a consulting team that analyzes global clean technology markets, forecasts that sales of natural gas truck and bus fleets will grow from 170,200 annually in 2013 to 398,400 by 2022.

“Natural Gas Trucks and Buses” analyzes the global market for trucks and buses that are in the medium duty and heavy duty gross vehicle weight classes.

While demand of natural gas trucks and buses remains uneven on a regional bases, North America and Asia Pacific show signs of strong growth, says Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant Research.

“In North America, where natural gas costs remain low, the growth of the vehicle market has gotten ahead of the refueling station development. In Asia Pacific, China and developing markets are looking to natural gas to help solve environmental woes in large cities,” Hurst says.

The report forecasts that worldwide, the total number of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) on the road will reach nearly 1.9 million trucks and 1.8 million buses by 2022.

On average, the price of compressed natural gas is about 42 percent that of diesel, according to the report, while liquefied natural gas tends to be a bit higher, but sees significantly more variability than CNG.

Given the difference, the payback period for heavy duty trucks can be as short as 1.5 years in North America, states Navigant. The incremental costs are largely driven by storage tanks for the CNG or LNG, which account for between 53 and 76 percent of the total incremental costs.

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