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We had a very enlightening and entertaining time at ACT Expo, a trade show primarily for fleets and fleet managers. It is here, and other conferences like it, where large-scale decisions are being made for alternative fuels. It’s where fleet manages and businesses are realizing: “Hey, this fuel makes sense.” Oftentimes, the fuel they’re talking about is compressed natural gas (CNG).
What was our key takeaway from ACT Expo? Shift happens! And it has happened before in America’s trucking industry. According to a panelist from Cummings, in the 1950s, all engines were built to use gasoline. However, with the competitive advantage that diesel provided, the entire industry made the switch to diesel in five years’ time.
With CNG priced at less than $2.00 and diesel at $4.50, nearly every speaker, panelist and attendee could see the virtue of natural gas. To prove the versatility and viability of the fuel, Frieghtliner is even hitting the road in a big rig powered by natural gas. They’re going coast-to-coast. If widely adopted, the dramatic cost difference in fuel could lower the prices on anything that’s shipped by truck – which is nearly everything.
And on the consumer side, Honda has proven that they can sell, and consumers will buy, natural gas vehicles. Sixty-five million Americans already have gas lines in their homes. That’s infrastructure. The economic case is clear and change seems much less daunting once you realize that it has happened before.
All in all, ACT was a great place to see the big picture on how businesses view our national transportation future. Change is coming because the economics make sense. Sit back and enjoy the ride, the future is natural gas!