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Alternative Fuels: Ideas to Consider When Making the Decision to Switch

Posted 8:23 PM by

Increasing fuel efficiency and improving truck emissions has been one of many issues atop the government's list of major changes affecting the trucking industry over the past decade. In order to be compliant with the new government standards, trucking company executives have many things to consider when the time comes to trade in older trucks and upgrade their fleet. As the price of diesel continues to hover around $4 per gallon, with no decline in sight, and new mining technologies driving down the price of natural gas approximately 70% over the past four years, many companies are turning to alternative fuels when upgrade time rolls around. 

With as many as 10 fuel options from natural gas to propane or bio-diesel to E-85, one decision many companies face is which fuel option will work best for their fleet. Availability is also a big determinate in the decision. Even though demand for these fuels is rapidly growing, many options are not currently available at all truck stops across the country.  Trucks running on alternative fuels would need to be on designated routes with fueling stations that provide the specific fuel. Other major factors to consider with the new technologies are fleet MPG and maintenance costs per mile; and the upfront investment can be significantly more than traditional diesel powered trucks. 

Since these are relatively newer technologies, companies going through this analysis most likely do not have prior knowledge in house or years’ worth of data when making the initial decision. Equipment manufacturers and service providers are well aware of the quickly changing landscape and are looking for ways to educate business owners. To help clear the air, the American Trucking Associations has teamed up with several service providers and will be hosting the first ever Summit on Natural Gas in Trucking this November with the goal of providing a comprehensive overview to industry leaders. This will most likely be the first of many events surrounding alternative fuels and technology upgrades on the road ahead.

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Katz, Sapper & Miller’s Transportation Services Group is one of the largest and most experienced in the country. We work with more than 100 publicly and privately held carriers throughout North America to keep their business moving in the right direction. Learn more

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