Low Fuel Prices Hamper the Switch to Alternative-Fuel Vehicles; Trucks.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl Reacts

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Ahead of Green Truck Summit, business leader who previously testified in Congress about fuel-efficiency mandates cautioned that as long as government mandates push against the market, the results can be economically hazardous.

Fueling Your Mind for the Road Ahead

We see a similar situation developing in the consumer marketplace, where low fuel prices have triggered a large shift to larger, less-fuel-efficient vehicles, while vehicle fuel efficiency is being mandated to increase.

Low diesel fuel prices are slowing the switch to natural gas by commercial and government fleet operators, even as many expect regulatory requirements to drive natural gas truck sales in the long run, according to a report by Trucks.com environmental expert John O’Dell. The report was published ahead of today’s Green Truck Summit, the alternative fuels and advanced technology conference held annually in conjunction with NTEA’s Annual Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

Trucks.com CEO Jeremy Anwyl, who previously testified in Congress about fuel-efficiency mandates, cautioned that as long as government mandates push against the market, the results can be economically hazardous.

“This is the type of thing we would expect to see when government mandates are not aligned with market forces,” Anwyl said. “CNG is being sidelined because it’s no longer the better financial option. Suddenly when diesel prices are low, spending $30,000 to $50,000 to convert trucks to natural gas eats into profit. We see a similar situation developing in the consumer marketplace, where low fuel prices have triggered a large shift to larger, less-fuel-efficient vehicles, while vehicle fuel efficiency is being mandated to increase.”

Even with the added cost of filtering diesel to reach emission standards, keeping fleets using diesel is more economically viable than investing in natural gas fleets or converters and the natural gas refueling stations to serve the vehicles, according to the report.

Despite short-term barriers, the Trucks.com report found, many fleet operators and technology developers continue to bet on the longer-term promise of alternatives to diesel.

The report is posted online at http://www.trucks.com/2016/02/29/natural-gas-hitting-price-wall-many-trucking-applications/ and is part of Trucks.com’s editorial public preview. During the preview period, Trucks.com will actively use feedback to improve content and features for members of its audience, who can send feedback to feedback(at)trucks(dot)com. The website will include a robust news service, hard-hitting features and in-depth analysis.

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Technological change, increased regulatory requirements and escalating cost pressures are combining to reshape transportation and shipping at a pace not seen in a century. This will lead to new ways of thinking and revolutionary breakthroughs in the industry. Trucks.com will chronicle this change, reporting on developments and providing insights from widely recognized leaders in the trucking world. We plan to fuel your mind for the exciting road ahead.

Trucks.com is currently being launched as a public preview, and we welcome your feedback at feedback(at)trucks(dot)com.

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