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Old 10-04-2012, 12:25 PM   #15
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Aage, In the US. See my links in above post and links within those websites. Many states have fuel use and conversion/option rebates. In Illinois you get 80% of the upfit/option up to a max of $4,000. That's in addition to fuel use rebates.

Howie, the cost of upfit and the quality of aftermarket upfits have been a negative. OEM options aren't cheap either. The real limiting factor, except for centrally fueled fleets, is availability of fast fill, high pressure (3,600 psi) stations.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:30 PM   #16
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Howie, you don't have to envision it. It has happened to municipal, county, state, and to some extent, federal fleets already.

In my area, just a few are: State of Illinois (Springfield), IL DOT (in a few locations), City of Chicago, DuPage County Forest Preserve District, Village of Skokie, Northwestern University, Goot (Gargage haulers).....there are others that escape me now, and I'm sure quite a few which I am not aware of.

In addition, some of those fleet locations are open to the public, but that present some economic, tax, liability, and administrative issues some folks don't want to deal with.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:39 PM   #17
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CNG is only temporary. Eventually we will run out of natural gas too. Investing in large scale distribution of CNG means we will run out faster. How much gas there is now is up for debate as companies always say there is more in their reserves than there is.

Electricity is the future as it can be renewable. Because government policies change every few years, there is not continued support for anything except oil and gas and coal, and investing in anything but that is very risky. Changing from a hydrocarbon and coal economy is difficult and needs consistent support from the government. If we don't do it, others are, notably China, Germany and some other European countries. We run the risk that all the technology for renewables will have to be bought from China and Europe and we will have to pay for it just as we do to import oil.

10,000 vehicles won't make a lot of difference, but a couple of million will drive up natural gas prices and we will be in the same spot we are now where gasoline and diesel supply is a world market which we cannot control. It will cost much more to heat houses and businesses and generate electricity, so it's a temporary fix and not a very good one. It can work in urban areas where few CNG stations are located, but over the road, I can't see many more CNG stations being built. So, limited use of CNG is fine as part of a transition, but it is not the future.

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Old 10-04-2012, 12:48 PM   #18
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Gene, there is no one right solution. I believe we will see many diverse fuel sources and propulsion methods be correct for certain regions, and markets. There is a lot of CNG though. At least enough for 100 years, according to "experts". And EVERYTHING is temporary, on some time scale. I am a proponent (with the right circumstances and economics and feed stock, region by region), of Gas, Diesel, electricity, CNG, LPG, Hydrogen, bio-diesel, and ethanol. Some of these areas need much more research to be socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable, but, of the alt fuels, electricity and CNG and LPG are the most ready for prime time. Distribution systems are already in place, and they are plentiful.

They will each find their place and market, but this is a CNG thread, so I didn't want to run off in the other areas.

Regionally, Kwik Trip stations have made a bold step in announcing installation of fast fill pumps at their locations in Iowa and Wisconsin, starting with interstate corridor locations.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:53 PM   #19
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Electricity is the future as it can be renewable.

Gene just where does that renewable electricity come from. Could it be GAS FIRED plants. We have a 100 years of gas available and maybe within that time Solyndra will have the answer. Solar or battery may be an answer for fixed locations such as homes but I doubt it will ever power an 18 wheeler in my lifetime.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:58 PM   #20
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The fuel range of CNG vehicles compounds the problem of refueling infrastructure.
Unlike propane, which can be easily liquefied for storage, natural gas cannot be liquefied in any normal setting. So it must be stored as a compressed gas.
Storage tanks that can safely manage 3500 PSI are big, heavy, and/or expensive (think composites) to make. Combine this with the fact that CNG produces fewer BTUs per given quantity, and one ends up with a car that has a maximum range of 250 miles. Larger tanks can be used on vehicles we might use for tow vehicles, but these will take up GVW and space for toys.
While stopping every 250 is not really a problem, creating nationwide coverage of CNG refill stations at the given interval is a very expensive issue. One would have to build the station in a location able to supply the required quantity of natural gas to begin with. This means a big enlargement of the natural gas pipeline system. The stations tapped into the lines now fill only a few vehicles. When and if mass production starts, the story will be different.
This same problem plagues wind energy solutions as well. Getting the electricity from where it is produced to where it can be used is a considerable problem.

And just wait until the “I will never drive with the propane on” crowd starts in. (sorry, I could not resist).

Not that it can’t work, but it ain’t no dead cinch either.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:03 PM   #21
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True, Jeff. That's why you would want a bi-fuel CNG truck. The Chevy has a 17 GGE CNG tank AND a 37 gallon gasoline tank. E85 compatable, if you choose to use it. Total range...650 miles. Can't find CNG? Refill with gasoline.

This whole alternative fuel thing is about offsetting the importation of foreign crude. What ever offsets 1 gallon is OK in my book.

I do believe in helping the environment too, it's just not my #1 priority in this discussion topic.

No question the tank eats up bed space though....and 500# of cargo capacity. Only available on a 2500HD for that reason.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:12 PM   #22
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I have often seen it stated we have a 100 year supply of natural gas. But what is that based on? No change in present use—heating, some electric power plants (closing in on 50% now) and not many cars and trucks? But if 10,000,000 cars and trucks (or more) were using it, how much will consumption rise?

Estimates of natural gas reserves change constantly, up and down, so I find it hard to trust them. Companies owning reserves have an economic interest in overstating reserves to keep their stock prices up and make them ripe for advantageous takeovers. Fracking is a major issue and no one knows the ultimate outcome of that, but it trends toward limits on it and thus, limits on reserves.

There's no doubt there will be several alternative fuels as dzn' says. The market will sort some of it out, but so will regulation of the environment to protect water and air. With federal policies changing every 4 years or even less, and state policies changing weekly or monthly, it is impossible to predict where the safe and profitable investments will be and as a result the tendency is for investment to go to traditional fuels regardless of whether that will make sense 10 or 20 years from now.

Back in 19-teens, Porsche invented a car with an electric motor on each wheel. A good idea if he had batteries for it and could keep each wheel going at the same rate. You could probably steer by increasing speed on one side and reducing it on the other (like a Bobcat)—I can't remember if he did it that way. Electric motors are superior in torque and don't need complicated transmissions or transfer cases. Scientists all over the world are looking for a battery solution—less weight being the problem. Some guy (or woman) somewhere is going to figure it out someday and I hope it is an American or Canadian, or at least, a European. We can work with those countries. Or maybe super efficient roof solar panels will supplement the batteries—that technology is improving fast (but most of it is coming from China).

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Old 10-04-2012, 01:18 PM   #23
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Electricity is the future as it can be renewable.

Gene just where does that renewable electricity come from. Could it be GAS FIRED plants. We have a 100 years of gas available and maybe within that time Solyndra will have the answer. Solar or battery may be an answer for fixed locations such as homes but I doubt it will ever power an 18 wheeler in my lifetime.
I was speaking of renewable sources of electricity, not gas or coal. I have already commented on the question if whether we really have a 100 year supply of natural gas. CNG already can power a large intracity delivery truck, so I suppose it can be scaled up for an 18 wheeler, though because they are for over the road, I doubt we will see much of that. The economics of that business dictate few fuel stops and CNG does not lend itself to that (see JD's post above).

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Old 10-04-2012, 01:20 PM   #24
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Gene has all valid, albeit, arguable points. POLICY MAKERS being THE biggest hurdle of all.

If a "JFK" like figure would stand up and say, "by the end of the decade we will be petroleum free in all production vehicles sold in America." It could be easily done. We have the technology. Too risky to invest in because the policymakers, and environmentalists (for right or wrong...or somewhere in between) keep moving the target.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:29 PM   #25
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Why are we willing to accept complete change in our electronic gadgets ever 18 months or less and we can not embrace a technology that that may last decades and offset one of the biggest overhangs to our countries growth.
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:33 PM   #26
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Why are we willing to accept complete change in our electronic gadgets ever 18 months or less and we can not embrace a technology that that may last decades and offset one of the biggest overhangs to our countries growth.
When you figure it out, let me know. This debate and associated technologies has been a part of my everyday professional life for over 15 years now. I've heard every reason in the book of why we can't do one or the other, or the other. Roadblocks at every development in technology.

Like my wife's father used to tell her as a child. " 'I can't never did anything....'"
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:48 PM   #27
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I was speaking of renewable sources of electricity, not gas or coal. I have already commented on the question if whether we really have a 100 year supply of natural gas. CNG already can power a large intracity delivery truck, so I suppose it can be scaled up for an 18 wheeler, though because they are for over the road, I doubt we will see much of that. The economics of that business dictate few fuel stops and CNG does not lend itself to that (see JD's post above).

Gene
1 of the shipping ports in California made a rule requiring a maximum pollution output for any trucks that pick up loads there so any trucks built before a certain date had to be replaced or converted to CNG, many were converted.
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:36 PM   #28
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1 of the shipping ports in California made a rule requiring a maximum pollution output for any trucks that pick up loads there so any trucks built before a certain date had to be replaced or converted to CNG, many were converted.

Maybe, or shipping companies would simply change ports or even build a new one. Or outsource to Mexico and truck the freight back to the United States.

The law of un-intended consequences is a real PITA.

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