U.S. and Canadian natural gas Class 8 truck retail sales started 2015 with slow growth and are ending the year in the same fashion, according to a recent report from ACT Research. Information in ACT’s most recent Natural Gas Quarterly attributed the soft sales to the continuing decline of diesel fuel prices, making the return on investment for adopting of natural gas less lucrative.
“With the fuel price differential continuing to narrow, the ROI to convert from diesel to natural gas is moving in the wrong direction,” said Ken Vieth, ACT’s senior partner and general manager. “Payback periods are lengthening.
“However, this doesn’t mean the adoption of natural gas fuel has stopped or that there are no new developments supporting a future uptick in NG truck orders. Despite sequential momentum slowing, with November natural gas heavy-duty retail sales down 28% month-to-month and year-to-year, year-to-date volumes stand just 1% below 2014’s levels.
“ACT’s staff continues to closely monitor industry developments. We’ve learned that despite the current fuel price differential, NG infrastructure continues to be built, albeit at targeted locations, and that existing NG equipment users remain committed to its long-term viability and emission benefits.”
ACT Research sees growth of the adoption of natural gas as a fuel for transportation in the U.S., but doesn’t expect to see double-digit sales expansion on the horizon over the next few years.
The Natural Gas Quarterly provides information on the current status of those factors that impact a decision to adopt natural gas, including a “dashboard gauge” that looks at the fuel price spread, public heavy-duty fueling infrastructure, natural gas equipment, and actual natural gas heavy-duty truck sales. ACT has also added a quick reference tool for fleets evaluating moving from diesel to natural gas to its free, online Natural Gas Fuel Payback Calculators, which can be found at http://calc.actresearch.net/.