Is LNG the new Diesel?

Well it seems that everyone from economists to legislators are on the recovery bandwagon these days. Job losses and first time unemployment claims fell for the first time since this mess began. Home and durable good sales are up for two months consecutively. These are all the signs we’ve been looking for, but where’s the recovery for the trucking and intermodal industries? From speaking with my customers and colleagues, it seems as if it is tentatively beginning and we’re finally starting to breathe a little easier…a little.

LNG Tanks

LNG Tanks

That being said, it’s probably a good idea to continue some cost saving strategies you’ve hopefully put into place and maybe consider a few more. I was reading a good article today about LNG that caught my attention, so I wanted to share some of the broader points. First off, LNG is natural gas cooled to about minus 260 degrees F to form a liquid. This process helps to remove impurities and heavy hydrocarbos, making it 95% less polluting than running diesel (something to consider with the EPA’s increasingly tough regulations on greenhouse gas emissions). In adddition, there is a natural pipeline distribution network of 1.5 million miles that pumps natural gas to every major city in the country. LNG is also cheaper than diesel. And the best thing about?… It’s a domestic fuel source, yup that’s right, U.S. soil. It is estimated we currently sit on a 120 year supply which we don’t have import or worry about “security” issues. So what’s the catch? Why are we implementing this right now? Well, three things that I can see. Though the distribution is available to major cities, it would take a lot more fueling stations to make it viable for the long haul truckers, so time is an issue; however, with President Obama’s energy initiative and stimulus plan, it could happen sooner than later. The second is a weight issue. A truck fully loaded with LNG weighs about 500 lbs. more than diesel. And thirdly and most importantly is money! Though LNG continues to be cheaper than gas, because of the drastic fall in gas prices of the last year, it is still not expensive enough to make people think about alternative fuels. So the more gas prices rise, the greater incentive for LNG. I’d love to hear your comments and, as always, feel free to visit my website at

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