Natural Gas is a great alternative to diesel fuel and motor gasoline as transportation fuel. Most commonly natural gas is used in organizations that have a fleet of vehicles. 

There are numerous government incentives to convert a fleet, but even without government incentives it is still a lower cost alternative to gasoline or diesel. Natural Gas for vehicles can use either be stored as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid natural gas(LNG). Pioneer LNG can serve all your CNG or LNG needs.

LNG/CNG vs Diesel

Economics

The price of diesel fuel is highly volatile. Swings of $.25-$.30 over a 2-3 week time frame are not uncommon.  This makes budgeting for organizations that depend on high volumes of transportation fuel very difficult. As of May 2018, the average price of on diesel fuel today is $3.459 per gallon. This includes all road taxes. A diesel equivalent gallon of CNG/LNG is currently $1.459 (includes road taxes less $.50 excise tax incentive) *

Carbon Footprint

Natural Gas vehicles reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 21%. Heavy Truck and Buses are a small % of vehicles on the road but actually cause 23% of all greenhouse gas emissions.  When natural gas is used to replace diesel engines in trucks and buses the biggest winner is Mother Nature.

American Made

Pioneer LNG works directly with Pennsylvania based natural gas production. Natural Gas in the abundant in the United States and is the world’s largest natural gas producer. If you are using a natural gas vehicle you are helping support Americas economy and will reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Maintenance

Natural Gas burns cleaner than diesel as we already discussed. This results in a longer life of engine oil and air filters. Many large fleet operators are seeing maintenance intervals are much longer with a natural gas fleet vs diesel. 

Right fit for your Fleet, CNG or LNG?

There is an ongoing debate among fleet owners of CNG vs LNG. There is no right or wrong answer, its depends on each individual fleet and their own needs. One thing to remember is that the engine is burning the same exact fuel, natural gas. The difference between CNG & LNG is how the fuel is stored and the BTU content of the fuel it itself.  There are 10 times more BTU in a gallon of LNG than CNG.

CNG Basics

CNG is natural gas that is compressed and stored at 4,500 PSI and dispensed to vehicle at  3,600 PSI. It is stored under pressure while stored on the vehicle and at the fueling depot. CNG is a safe fuel that has a very fine flammability range. CNG is lighter than air and disperses rapidly in event of a spill.

Environmentally there is no pollution risks with CNG. In a CNG vehicle the fuel is stored in high pressure cylinders. Because there is less BTU’s in CNG, the fuel storage tanks are larger and occupy more space than an LNG application. An early knock against CNG was that is took hours to fill vehicles. With modern advances CNG can now be dispensed as fast as any diesel or gasoline vehicle.

Best Applications:

CNG is best for fleets that cover less than 250 miles per day. A perfect match for CNG has been waste haulers. Americas largest waste haulers are the biggest users of CNG. School buses and local delivery fleets all the way to regular passenger vehicles as well are fit as well.

LNG Basics

LNG is liquid natural gas. It is stored and delivered in cryogenic tank via truck and stored in a cryogenic tank on location of fleet. LNG is stored at -260F. Because it stored and transported as a liquid the fueling and refueling of a fleet would be set up similar to a diesel fuel fleet. The fuel itself can be dispensed at 15+ DGE per minute.

Best Applications

The best application for LNG is Heavy duty vehicles. Regional Trucking that travel more than 250 miles per day and return to base or over the road trucking fleets as well.

Pricing:

Most CNG applications are set up by compressing natural gas is delivered via pipeline to end user from the LDC (Local Distribution Company). It is cheaper to compress natural gas than to liquify it. So, it is generally believed that CNG is a cheaper option than LNG. While this may have been the case in the past it might be true in all applications. The infrastructure need to compress pipeline natural gas can be very expensive.

Pioneer LNG works with an upstream LNG producer that has the ability to liquify natural gas at the most cost effective prices. In addition, we work with state of the art cryogenic storage and distribution systems. Therefore, in many cases Pioneer LNG can deliver LNG and compress it on site cheaper than compressing pipeline natural gas from a LDC.

Case Study

Regional Trucking Operator based in Pennsylvania. The tank and dispensing system can be set at no cost to end user with a long-term supply contract. Let’s look at a 20 truck test program.

This fleet cycles trucks every 5 years. Each Truck travels on average 125,000 miles per year. Trucks are getting 6 MPG. Each Truck burns approx. 20,850 gallons of diesel fuel per year.

Average Price of Diesel in PA. $3.459

Delivered in LNG: $1.459* includes a $.50 tax credit for alt fuels*

The incremental cost of a LNG engine is $40,000 more expensive than diesel.

Annual savings of per 1 LNG truck is $41,700. Payback is than 1 year.

Over life of the proposed pilot program, the regional carrier can truck fuel savings are estimated at $208,500 per truck. Therefore, the fuel savings for entire pilot program of 20 trucks is $4,170,000

The price of LNG can be hedged out 5 years, taking all risk of price movements away from company.

In a tight margin business of freight hauling, these savings can truly be a game changer for regional carriers.

*https://www.afdc.energy.gov/laws/laws_expired?jurisdiction=US