With fuel savings between $1.50 and $2.00 per diesel gallon equivalent (dge), LNG-fueled trucks are being used by fleets for their most demanding routes: heavy haul, double-shift operations where truckers can consume 200 gallons per day, the World LNG Fuels conference concluded in January.
By using domestic LNG, operators can save as much as $75,000 annually in fuel costs, enough to pay for the cost of LNG equipment in 18 months.
Hindering this, however, is the higher weight of the LNG-fueled trucks, which weigh between 1,800 and 2,000 pounds (820 and 910 kg) more than their diesel counterparts. By law, most tractor-trailer combinations are limited to 80,000 pounds. Once the weight of the truck and trailer are deducted, payload capacity can be as little as 35,000 pounds. Thus, an increase in truck weight of 1,800 to 2,000 pounds can wipe away profits.
Truckers like Hoopes Transport President Preston Hoopes would like the U.S. DOT to consider waivers for the extra weight, given the benefits of the cleaner, domestic fuel.
“We need the government to allow extra weight. If the government wants us to use domestic LNG and CNG, they’ve got to give us weight help on our trucks,” Hoopes told World LNG Fuels 2013, held in Houston.
“We’re trying to get another trucking company in Pennsylvania to use LNG. They said ‘we can’t afford the extra weight, 2,000 extra pounds, which over a year’s time costs $20,000 in lost revenue,’” he said.
Hoopes operates some 50 trucks, 16 of which are LNG fueled, for a variety of cargos. In recent months, management has assigned their LNG units to their most fuel-intensive routes. They would like to move into the LNG-fuel supply business if the issue of weight can be resolved.