OTTAWA, Ont. — The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) says its belief that the trucking industry needs tax incentives to fully benefit from liquefied natural gas (LNG) has been supported by a new government report.
Released by the federal Department of Natural Resources, Natural Gas Use in Transportation Deployment Roadmap, suggests that without significant government incentives, it will be difficult for trucking companies to absorb the cost of the higher purchase price of LNG-powered trucks, which can cost twice as much as traditional trucks.
Meanwhile, the fueling network is still in an embryonic state and needs further development.
“LNG has the potential to serve as an important niche in the trucking marketplace,” said CTA chief David Bradley. “It won’t be suitable for every type of operation given the limitations on its distribution and the costs of purchasing LNG tractors. It will be of most interest to carriers with dedicated return to destination routes. But as part of a broad, comprehensive strategy for reducing GHG emissions from trucking, it definitely has a role to play. It is certainly of more potential benefit than biodiesel, for example.”
The report surmised that: “Trucking fleets tend to be conservative in adopting new technology, and natural gas (particularly LNG) is unfamiliar and unavailable to most fleets. The uncertainty about fuel availability and prices, combined with the high incremental vehicle prices, limited marketing and lack of financial incentives for natural gas trucks, explains the low level of uptake. The potential for market growth for natural gas vehicles will not be realized unless the attitudes, knowledge and key concerns of end-users are understood and addressed.”
The report urged government to provide measures to help carriers offset the costs of buying and operating LNG-fueled trucks – a point that the trucking industry agrees with.
“We’d much rather that the federal government focused on these real solutions than trying to push things like biodiesel down the industry’s throat,” said Bradley.