Last week we heard about Ford building pickups to run on CNG, this week it is GM. GM announced this week that they will be investing in technology to power their V-8 trucks on compressed natural gas or gasoline. This will provide an economical benefit for companies with truck fleets, allowing them to save money on fuel. These bi-fuel pickups will meet EPA requirements, includes a standard three year/36K mile warranty, and will go on sell in the 4th quarter of 2012.
If are looking to invest in CNG vehicles, Westport (WPRT) is major player in CNG conversion. Another option is Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE), which is one of the largest providers of compressed natural gas in the US. Those looking for a safer investment, First Trust Natural Gas Index ETF (FCG) invests in natural gas companies like Chesapeake Energy.
Also in the news this week, San Bernardino transportation officials proposed converting all tow trucks to CNG. These trucks patrol freeways during rush hour to respond to broken down vehicles. These trucks currently run on diesel. Converting these truck to CNG will require an increased cost up front, but with natural gas about a third of the cost of diesel the fuel savings will make up for that.
The Department of Energy is also looking into CNG. They plan to have 200 public buses running on CNG by 2012. Since CNG is considered clean energy and does not pollute the environment the DOE is committed to increasing the number of public buses running on CNG or LNG. Secretary of Energy Rene Almendras mentioned, “If we can only have 5,000 CNG-run public buses, we can abate pollution by 81 percent and at the same time comply with the provisions of the Clean Air Act”.
Lafayette put 5 public buses in operation last month, and held a ribbon cutting ceremony this week. The CNG buses cost $430,000 each with the intention of providing 12 years of public transportation services. Lafayette plans to convert all of it’s city buses to CNG. Converting to CNG will provide a huge fuel cost savings to the citizens of Lafayette, and benefit the environment with these clean energy buses.
The new Honda Civic 2012 Natural Gas vehicle, also known as Civic GX, goes on sale on October 18th with a price tag starting at $26,155. The Civic NGV is currently the only natural gas powered vehicle sold and manufactured in the US. Honda is increasing the number of dealerships to sell and service the Civic NGV to 200 in 35 states. The Civic NGV has a 3600 psi fuel tank, and the new 2012 model has better fuel economy than the previous year.
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