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  • tucksox1 tucksox1 Apr 22, 2013 3:36 PM Flag

    NYT Article - Great Read (Mentions WPRT, CMI) PART I

    Natural Gas Becomes a Fuel for the Long Haul
    2013-04-22 19:25:33.635 GMT


    By DIANE CARDWELL and CLIFFORD KRAUSS
    (New York Times) -- The natural gas boom has already upended the American power industry, displacing coal and bringing consumers cheaper electricity.
    Now the trucking industry, with its millions of 18-wheelers moving products like potato chips, underarm deodorant and copy paper around the country, is taking a leap forward in switching from petroleum to cleaner-burning natural gas. And if natural gas remains cheap, consumers may benefit again.
    This month, Cummins, a leading engine manufacturer, began shipping big, new engines that make long runs on natural gas possible. A skeletal network of refueling stations at dozens of truck stops stands ready. Major shippers like Procter & Gamble, mindful of both fuel costs and green credentials, are turning to companies with natural gas trucks in their fleets.
    And in the latest sign of how the momentum for natural gas in transportation is accelerating, United Parcel Service plans to announce in the next few days that it will expand its fleet of heavy 18-wheel vehicles running on liquefied natural gas, or L.N.G., to 800 by the end of 2014, from 112. The vehicles will use the new Cummins engines, produced under a joint venture with Westport Innovations.
    U.P.S., like the rest of the industry, still has a long way to go in the conversion, but the company hopes to make natural gas vehicles a majority of its new heavy truck acquisitions in two years. The company is benefiting from incentives provided by various states and the federal government, which offer tax credits and grants for installing natural gas fuel stations and using vehicles fueled by natural gas.
    “By us doing this it will help pave the way and others will follow,” said Scott Wicker, chief sustainability officer at U.P.S. “Moving into L.N.G. is a means to get us onto what we see as the bridging fuel of the future and off of oil. It’s the right step for us, for our customers and for our planet.”
    The move could also cut the country’s oil import bill. Right now, about eight million heavy and medium-weight trucks consume three million barrels of oil a day while traveling the nation’s highways. That is nearly 15 percent of the total national daily consumption and the equivalent of three-fourths of the amount of oil imported from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Roughly two-thirds of the diesel used as transportation fuel nationwide feeds three million 18-wheelers, the main trucks hauling goods over long distances.

 
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