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News Archive - June 2013

Major Shake-Up in the Light-Duty Natural Gas Vehicle Space
June 28th, 2013 - Natural gas engine manufacturer Westport Innovations Inc. has acquired BAF Technologies Inc. and its ServoTech Engineering Inc. subsidiary. BAF is a subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels Corp., the largest natural gas station developer in the U.S. Westport is acquiring BAF from Clean Energy for $25 million in Westport stock, the companies say. BAF, which has been involved in natural gas vehicle (NGV) conversions for the better part of two decades, is one of Ford Motor Co.'s key Qualified Vehicle Modifiers for compressed natural gas (CNG) light-duty trucks and vans. Westport is also a Ford QVM, with its WiNG Power System for Ford F-250s through F-550s. With the acquisition, Westport will now have the largest footprint in the light-duty NGV conversion space, bringing BAF's full portfolio of offerings into the Westport family. BAF has EPA and CARB approval for vehicle models such as the Ford F-59 and F-650, and EPA approval and pending CARB approval for the Ford Transit Connect. READ MORE >

On The Road to Better Data
June 28th, 2013 - The International Energy Agency weighed in last week as bullish on the future of natural gas as a transportation fuel. According to the Wall Street Journal, the IEA “expects natural gas use in road and maritime transportation to rise to 98 billion cubic meters by 2018, covering around 10 percent of incremental energy needs in the transport sector.” Three factors are behind this increase in the use of natural gas for transportation, according to Maria van der Hoeven, the IEA’s executive director. These are the fuel’s “abundant supplies as well as concerns about oil dependency and air pollution.” The cost factor is particularly a driver for commercial fleet operators where current fuel prices have become more favorable for natural gas over diesel. READ MORE >

P&G to Convert 20% of Its For-Hire Truck Loads to Natural Gas
June 28th, 2013 - Procter & Gamble is extending its commitment to a more sustainable supply chain by becoming one of the first large shippers to convert a significant percentage of its for-hire truck loads to natural gas. Beginning in July 2013, P&G will work with eight transportation carriers to convert up to 20 percent of its North America truck load shipments to natural gas vehicles within two years. By meeting this goal, it is expected P&G will incur savings for the converted lanes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 5,000 metric tons (or the equivalent GHG emissions from 1,000 passenger vehicles for a year). READ MORE >

Trillium CNG Planning to Build More Than 100 Natural Gas Stations
June 27th, 2013 - Trillium CNG, a unit of Integrys Energy Group that specializes in compressed natural gas (CNG) facilities, has developed plans to construct 101 CNG refueling stations in the U.S. by 2016. These fast-fill facilities will be accessible to the public, but Trillium CNG is also prioritizing a design that will accommodate Class 8 trucks' refueling needs. Each of the new facilities will host an anchor fleet of natural gas vehicles that access CNG through preferred fuel-purchase agreements. Texas will see 14 new Trillium CNG stations, and Ohio (8 stations), Florida (7), Illinois (6) and Pennsylvania (6) will also host a number of facilities. Sites are also planned for a number of other states, from California to the Carolinas. READ MORE >

Ryder Adds 39 Natural Gas Trucks to Rental Fleet in CA
June 20th, 2013 - Truck rental company Ryder announced Thursday it would make 39 light- and medium-duty vehicles powered by compressed natural gas available for lease or rent in California. Because of their lighter frame, the Greenkraft and Navistar trucks powered by 6.0-liter GM engines will tap existing natural gas stations throughout the state. The more than 300 heavier-duty natural gas trucks in Ryder’s existing fleet require stations specially equipped to handle large commercial tractor-trailers. READ MORE >

Frito-Lay CNG in Beloit and Beyond
June 19th, 2013 - Frito-Lay is unveiling its inaugural compressed natural gas fueling station at a ceremony with top executives, and government official in Beloit, Wisc this morning – and is spreading the word that Trillium CNG and Questar have been picked to build five and two more CNG stations, respectively, for public access. Frito-Lay will expand its own fleet of heavy duty CNG vehicles to 208 tractors this year. “Once deployed, the 208 CNG tractors will make up 20% of Frito-Lay’s fleet and will be located at 50% of production locations, making Frito-Lay’s CNG fleet one of the largest CNG fleets in the U.S.,” the company says. The seven new CNG fueling stations, along with three others to be in operation this year, will begin at a total expected annual volume of two million gallons and grow to a little over eight million gallons in five years, the firm adds. READ MORE >

Wichita’s First Compressed Natural Gas Filling Station to Open Next Week
June 14th, 2013 - Wichita’s first compressed natural gas vehicle fueling station is set to open next week. The retail station is planned for the corner of 29th Street North and Ohio, just west of I-135. Supporters of using compressed natural gas (CNG) as a fuel for vehicles hope that the station will be a catalyst for development in the industry. Vehicle fleet operators in this area have been slow so far to convert to vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, but it’s catching on in other parts of the country. READ MORE >

Gas Commission Gives PGW Go-Ahead for Natural-Gas Cars
June 13th, 2013 - A city panel Tuesday approved a Philadelphia Gas Works request to buy 24 natural-gas vehicles, even though the utility acknowledges it would cost less to buy conventional gasoline cars. The Philadelphia Gas Commission voted to tack $438,000 onto the utility's $3.1 million budget next year for new vehicles to pay for the higher cost of the sedans, along with a compressed-natural-gas fueling station. Despite a huge price advantage, natural gas is only slowly moving into the motor-fuel market because of high up-front costs. Even the city's natural-gas utility had to struggle to make a case for switching some of its fleet to CNG. READ MORE >

Lots of NatGas for Cars, Just Nowhere to Pump It
June 12th, 2013 - There's a groundswell of excitement over natural gas, and the possibility that the cheaper and cleaner fuel may eventually overtake gasoline as the mother's milk of fossil fuel-powered vehicles. There's only one small problem: Where would a natgas-powered car fill up? The would-be natgas transportation revolution is stymied by the dearth of fueling stations available. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are only 32 liquified natural gas (LNG) fueling stations in the country, and 585 that provide compressed natgas (CNG). Those figures pale in comparison to the approximately 121,000 traditional gas stations that dot the U.S. landscape. READ MORE >

CenterPoint Adding Natural Gas Vehicles to Its Fleet
June 7th, 2013 - CenterPoint Energy said it will add 35 vehicles this year that run on natural gas to its fleets across six states, including Texas. It also expects to provide natural gas service to at least 17 new compressed natural gas fueling stations built in the company’s service territory. With the planned additions, CenterPoint’s natural gas vehicle fleet will reach 85 across Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas by year’s end. The company also offers tools to help identifying other promising candidates for converting fleets to natural gas. READ MORE >

Ryder Sees Natural Gas Fleet Adoption Threatening Diesel Demand
June 5th, 2013 - Ryder System Inc., the largest commercial fleet leasing company in the U.S., sees the growth of natural gas use in transportation expanding enough to affect domestic demand for diesel fuel. Ryder is working with about 50 companies, including Sherwin-Williams Co. and Staples Inc., that are beginning to test natural gas in their trucks, Scott Perry, vice president of supply management for Miami-based Ryder, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Houston office today. That’s up from 12 two years ago, he said. The degree to which companies are embracing natural gas as a transportation fuel means its use will keep growing and supplant some diesel demand, Perry said. He said development of fueling stations, truck engines and lower-cost manufacturing capabilities is also rising. READ MORE >

Moorpark Getting 2 New Buses, Courtesy of Caltrans Funds
June 5th, 2013 - Moorpark will be receiving two new compressed natural gas buses from a multimillion-dollar award from the California Department of Transportation. The two buses cost a total of $774,000 and will replace two existing buses. The funding comes from Proposition 1B, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond, which is providing $3.6 billion over 10 years to improve public transit in California. Caltrans has awarded nearly $250 million to improve public transit and air quality across California. READ MORE >

Natural Gas 101: What You Need to Know
June 4th, 2013 - By now, most fleets have heard the arguments for – and against – natural gas as a fuel option. While there are operational shortcomings with natural gas – range limitations, weight and fuel tank configurations being the primary issues – the industry as a whole seems to have decided that the advantages of using natural gas outweigh any problems. The United States has the largest natural gas reserves in the world, making the fuel cheaper for North American operators as well as a more secure energy source given today’s geopolitical realities. Even better, natural gas has been used in industrial and automotive applications for decades. It’s a proven technology and one that industry leader Westport Innovations feels soon will find its way into a wide variety of transportation niches – including marine and rail applications. READ MORE >

North American NGV Conference and Expo will celebrate 20th anniversary of US DOE Clean Cities Program
June 4th, 2013 - NGVAmerica’s 2013 North American NGV Conference and Expo slated for November 18–21 at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta, Ga., will celebrate 20 years of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Cities program, which advances the nation's economic, environmental and energy security by supporting local actions to reduce petroleum use in transportation. DOE created Clean Cities in 1993 in response to the enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct), a federal law that required certain vehicle fleets to acquire alternative fueled vehicles. The program has since expanded over time to include other complimentary technologies to reduce petroleum consumption. READ MORE >

Pennsylvania Has $10 Million for NGVs
June 3rd, 2013 - Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection has kicked off its Alternative Fuels Incentive Grant program for light and medium duty natural gas vehicles. The AFIG program will provide an estimated $10 million in grants to help companies and organizations purchase or convert medium to light-weight natural gas vehicles. Non-profit agencies, for-profit companies, commonwealth or municipal authorities, and local transportation organizations are all eligible – with a five-vehicle minimum. Small entities are encouraged to submit aggregate applications in order to qualify. READ MORE >
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