U.S. and Canadian Natural Gas Class 8 truck retail sales rose 13% in 2017, but shed 28% year-to-date through August 2018, according to a recent quarterly report (Natural Gas & Alternative Fuels Quarterly) released by ACT Research. Year-to-date sales at this point in 2017 were flat year-over-year.
“On a nominal basis, natural gas retail sales are down about 600 units for the first eight months of 2018 on a year-over-year basis,” said Ken Vieth, senior partner and general manager at ACT Research. “Based on news released in the popular press, natural gas vehicle purchases continued to be dominated by refuse fleets, as well as transit and school bus operators.
“With the narrowed fuel price spread between diesel and natural gas, it really isn’t surprising that sales of natural gas units softened,” he continued. “That said, it is important to remember that the conversion of a fleet from diesel to natural gas doesn’t rest entirely on the savings of fuel. Natural gas offers more consistent fuel pricing and is one way fleets can meet more stringent environmental requirements, particularly where RNG is available. Transportation power is no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition. All viable commercial vehicle power alternatives, from diesel and NG to electric vehicles of all kinds, must now be considered to accurately measure potential cost savings, while meeting future emissions.”