For the first five months of 2021, U.S. and Canadian Class 8 natural gas truck retail sales rose 19% year-to-date against a “somewhat unfair comparison of the same time period in 2020,” as published in the quarterly report (AFQ: Alternative Fuels Quarterly) recently released by ACT Research. For context, total U.S. Class 8 sales were up 32% for the same period.
“Sales of natural gas-powered vehicles as reported by the six major truck OEMs, who account for approximately 60% of the heavy-duty natural gas market, were mixed in the March to May 2021 time period, with March experiencing a sizeable sequential gain and even more impressive year-over-year growth,” said Steve Tam, vice president at ACT Research. “Counter to COVID-influenced expectations, April natural gas vehicle sales volumes dropped month over month and year over year, also reducing the year-to-date increase. Activity in May appears to have shrugged off whatever afflicted April, returning to solid, across-the-board improvement, with sales jumping 23% sequentially and 206% higher than the year-ago level.
“Besides sales, the Alternative Fuels Quarterly analyzes the change in existing and planned alternative fuel/power infrastructure and equipment developments,” Tam added. “We’re seeing an overall increase in electric charging stations, but a continuing decline of total natural gas stations. That said, we continue to see articles about natural gas use in transportation, as well as discussions about hydrogen fuel cells and investments in electric commercial vehicle development, making trade-industry headlines.”