Canada: OTA aids trucking industry transition to natural gas

Canada: OTA aids trucking industry transition to natural gas

The Ontario Trucking Association issued a report on using natural gas as fuel for vehicles in order to assist the government of Ontario in the design of a heavy truck natural gas program.

The report, named Natural Gas as an Alternative Fuel for Canadian Truck Fleets: A Roadmap Toward Implementation examines the two broad areas where the investment is most needed.

The government of Ontario has already committed C$250 million (Approx: US$188 million) to aid the conversion of commercial trucking industry to run on natural gas and reduce carbon emission, however, it is unclear when the funds will be available and under what conditions, OTA said.

The two areas examined by the OTA are the costs of natural gas-fueled vehicles and the cost of setting up natural gas fueling stations as well as the ancillary costs.

While vehicle and station costs are well understood, ancillary costs and challenges, such as management time for fleet transition evaluation; required facility upgrades; driver training and other change management expenses, are less so, OTA said.

“These ancillary expenses can make up to 10 per cent of the overall cost of switching to natural gas vehicles. Without assistance and funding in these critical areas, fleets can easily become frustrated, making a successful conversion to natural gas vehicles less likely,” said OTA president Stephen Laskowski.

OTA is already calling on the government program to fund up to C$60,000 per natural gas vehicle in order to offset the cost differential of a diesel engine. Furthermore, OTA says the government should provide carriers with access to the same incentives given to  fuel suppliers to build fueling stations, as carriers may wish to install and operate private stations for their own fleet.

A recent study commissioned by OTA and conducted by the Rustbelt Group, estimated the vehicle and infrastructure cost for a 20-truck fleet would be C$3.4 million while the ancillary costs would come in at C$325,000.

1 CAD = 0.752119 USD

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