With the price of diesel fuel continuing to hover near the $4 a gallon mark, demand for natural gas-powered trucks is strong and growing. In absolute terms, natural gas trucks are a small percentage of the overall national trucking fleet, but sales projections are increasing exponentially, year-to-year.
In an interview with Fleet Owner
, Andy Douglas, national sales manager for specialty vehicles at Kenworth
, said he expects natural gas trucks to ultimately comprise about two percent of heavy truck production. Projections for 2012 sales totals for NG-powered trucks are 5100 units, increasing to a projected 9500 in 2013, and as high as 12,500 in 2014.
Douglas also noted a strong interest in used natural gas trucks with many fleets displaying an interest in trying out the fuel but showing reluctance in spending the six figure sum for a new NG truck. The used inventory is limited, however, because natural gas is a relatively recent development in the heavy truck industry.
Kenworth also just held its second-annual Natural Gas Summit for customers, an educational seminar about operating and servicing NG trucks. Douglas said interest was so high for the session, that some potential attendees had to be turned away.