We have a ton of it sitting in the ground waiting to be
consumed, the price is right (super cheap) and even T Boone Pickens
loves it; so why aren't we using more natural gas?
Over the last 2 years or so I have been examining alternative
energy scenarios that would help solve our thirst for crude oil and
gasoline, which not only drives both of those prices higher, but
makes the U.S. dependent on foreign countries, who in turn
capitalize and grow stronger on our weakness. Many of these
oil producing nations do have our best interests in mind.
70% of our crude oil consumption is driven (pun intended) by our
transportation needs, ground transport accounts for a large part of
What's interesting to me is that even though diesel is "less
refined" than traditional gasoline, it is more expensive.
What's worse is that the average tractor trailer gets about 5 MPG
(That's 1/3rd the MPG of a 12 cylinder Lamborghini).
Our interstates and the trucks that travel along its twists and
turns are the primary circulatory system for getting goods and
services to North Americans. But since the average tractor
trailer gets 5MPG and with diesel averaging over $4.15 per gallon,
much of that cost is added into many of our consumables; everything
from food and drink to clothing and even trash.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Waste Management (WM)
passed $170 million in fuel costs back to the customer in 2011
alone. To keep costs down, 80% of the vehicles they purchase
over the next 5 years will be powered by natural gas.
The biggest issue with natural gas is not the engines or
conversions, it's the infrastructure. When was the last time
you saw a "natural gas station" while driving up and down America's
But if large transport companies were to use their advanced
logistical prowess to setup key refueling stations where needed and
plot out truck routes so that minimal infrastructure was needed, we
could be there sooner than later and perhaps see more stable, if
not cheaper goods at our stores. (This is already underway to
Waste management says that Nat gas vehicles may cost $30k more,
but will save at least $27k per year. My thinking is that if
a truck has a 10 year life span, the company would save a minimum
of $270,000.00 per truck. Waste management currently operates 1,400
CNG (compressed natural gas) trucks in N America, which equates to
a savings of $378 million over 10 years on those trucks
alone. There are thousands of trucks in the total fleet.
Scott Perry, a V.P. at Ryder noted that "The economics favoring
natural gas are overwhelming" and Frito-Lay is also moving to
Nat gas transport.
While a conversion to Nat gas has been difficult in the past, we
may have the perfect storm of price, technology and politics to
propel this initiative to wide adoption.
So my question is that if there was a major shift to natural
gas do you think we would see a favorable price change in our
products and services or is that a pipe dream?
Alternatively, will all this new demand send prices higher
and negate the anticipated savings?
- Even if prices do rally to parity with traditional fuels,
we still are moving in the right direction as natural gas engines
emit only a fraction of the pollutants compared to diesel or
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