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Assessment of natural gas heavy truck technology


Our analysis finds that biofuel supply will easily meet projected 2050 liquid fuel demand under the Reinventing Fire scenario. However, compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) hold great promise over the near and medium term, especially for buses, medium duty vehicles, centrally fueled fleets, and even class 8 heavy trucks. Natural gas typically undercuts diesel prices across the country and emits 20% less CO2 than diesel fuel on an equivalent basis. Currently, LNG engines for class 8 applications are expensive and infrastructure exists only in California. In the absence of a national LNG infrastructure buildout, CNG could penetrate the heavy truck market. Innovation is brewing for lightweight fuel tanks to give class 8 trucks the fuel needed to run medium and long haul routes with easier to distribute but less energy dense CNG. Fuel tanks for normal driving range become small enough to package well when combined with the truck efficiency gains described earlier.


A: Wellkamp, Nick and Daniel Weiss. 2010.American Fuel: Developing Natural Gas for Heavy Vehicles. Center for American Progress. link

B: Krupnick, Alan. 2010.Energy, Greenhouse Gas, and Economic Implications of Natural Gas Trucks. Resources for the Future and the National Energy Policy Institute. link

C: Michael Ogburn. 2010. Email communication. “CNG/LNG and dual fuel engines.”