If we want cleaner air, we need cleaner vehicles. IEA supports projects that promote the use of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in our state, which will substantially reduce air pollution and improve the health and well-being of all Hoosiers.
Natural gas medium- and heavy-duty engines provide unmatched reductions of smog-forming emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx). The Cummins Westport Ultra-Low NOx engine is made in America and is 90% cleaner than the EPA’s current NOx standard. It is certified by both EPA and the California Air Resources Board to a 0.02 grams per brake horsepower hour (g/bhp-hr) standard, making it equivalent to a zero emission engine.
Dollar-for-dollar, NGVs deliver the most cost-effective NOx emissions reductions. When comparing the technology costs of natural gas, diesel and electric vehicles with NOx reductions, funding natural gas vehicles will lead to the largest total reduction in NOx emissions. NGVs provide the least cost option in NOx reduction in the transit bus, school bus, refuse truck and short/regional haul truck segments.
NGV infrastructure is already in place, with over 2.5 million miles of natural gas pipelines in the United States. Currently, Indiana has 26 publicly available Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) stations throughout the state for long haul trucking as well as municipal use. See the Map below. This station coverage allows any type of vehicle (Class 4-8) to travel the state using CNG.
Benefits of NGVs
Natural gas is abundant and produced domestically. Its use promotes energy independence, unshackling us from unstable, often adversarial foreign countries. NGVs are commercially available today across all applications qualified for funding, including traditional truck and bus original equipment manufacturers with established sales and service networks. Retrofit and repower options are also available from a variety of manufacturers. Current applications include:
|· Heavy Semi Tractors
· Refuse Trucks
· School Buses
· Transit Buses
· Single Axle Vans
· Shuttle Buses
|· Cement Mixers
· Dump Trucks
· Large Walk In Vans
· Motor Coaches
· Utility Trucks
· Fuel Trucks
Natural gas trucks and buses are easier and cheaper to maintain than their diesel counterparts. They require no diesel particulate filter or waste, selective catalytic reduction, or diesel emission fluid. Natural gas prices are stable. Currently, natural gas prices can be $0.75 to $1 or more lower than diesel at the pump, with a firm price advantage expected to remain for decades.
The pump price of natural gas remains relatively stable for two reasons. First, it is domestically sourced. Second, the commodity cost of natural gas only makes up 23% of the pump price, so price fluctuations have minimal impact. In contrast, approximately 60% of the price of diesel fuel is impacted by the market cost of crude oil, which is largely sourced from politically unstable, high-conflict regions. When crude oil prices increase, diesel prices follow suit, which can lead to significant swings in a fleet’s fuel costs. Natural gas provides long-term fuel price stability and cost savings.
Indiana is already a proven leader in natural gas vehicle deployment. With companies such as Cummins, Eco Vehicle Systems and AutoCar in the natural gas vehicle industry, growth in the deployment of the alternative fuel will result in growth within these Indiana-based companies. Municipalities throughout the state are enjoying the benefits of this domestically produced and environmentally friendly fuel, the results of which are a reduction in operating expenses and taxpayer savings. A proven example is the City of Muncie, which has built a CNG station, replaced 14 refuse trucks with clean burning natural gas and purchased 24 bi-fuel Ford Explorer police vehicles. Other municipalities could follow suit with access to VW settlement dollars and assistance from the local gas utility.