US fleets ‘increasingly’ shifting to near-zero emissions NGVs and RNG

Heavy-duty vehicle fleets are increasingly turning to near-zero-emissions (NZE) natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and carbon-negative RNG, according to the California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership (CNGVP).

During a press conference, the organisation said NZE NGVs are available now, delivering critical and cost-effective emissions reductions throughout California, where heavy-duty diesel trucks are the state’s largest single combined source of smog-forming nitrous oxides and toxic diesel particulate matter (DPM), and one of the largest and growing sources of climate-altering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Ashley Remillard, vice-president of legal and government affairs at Hexagon Agility, and vice-chair of the CNGVP, said: “Today, fleets across California and the nation are investing in commercially available and proven NGVs, choosing sustainable technology that meets their wide-ranging and intensive operational needs while keeping an eye on future opportunities to incorporate electric trucks when they are available and make sense from a cost and performance perspective.”

One example highlighted during the press conference is Matheson Postal Services, a subsidiary of Matheson Trucking, which has moved post from coast-to-coast for the US Postal Service since 1964. Matheson operates 95 NZE trucks on its contracted mail routes, hauling 78,000-pound loads through diverse terrains, running more than 16.4 million miles annually.

Each of Matheson’s heavy-duty NZE natural gas big rigs runs an average of 185,000 miles per year, or 715 miles per day, which provides significant reductions in diesel use, DPM and GHG emissions. Because of the positive environmental and economic results, Matheson has placed an order for an additional 50 NZE CNG trucks, scheduled to be delivered in late 2021 and early 2022.

Investment in NZE NGVs is even more effective as fleets utilise carbon-negative RNG, said CNGVP. In Q1 2021, data from the California Air Resources Board’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard programme revealed that the average annual intensity of CNG from renewable feedstocks, also known as bio-CNG, was -16.57gCO2e/MJ, the lowest average of any currently available vehicle fuel – including renewable electricity.

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