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Old 10-04-2012, 08:53 AM   #1
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CNG Tow vehicles on the horizon

Colorado gov: States ready to buy 10,000 CNG cars | The Detroit News | detroitnews.com
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:40 AM   #2
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I read this and sent in on the several friends under the subject line "Thank God for Governors"

This is something the Feds or the military, for on base use, should have done years ago. It is time this country wakes up and regains some of what it has lost to the rest of the world.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:50 AM   #3
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CNG is an extremely viable fuel. You do lose some HP and torque, so you'll want to spec accordingly. Mileage is measured in GGE (gasoline gallon equivelants) to accommodate for different energy values per actual gallons. Fuel economy is roughly the same under this formula. CNG is substantially less cost per GGE than gasoline. Availability and infrastructure is still an issue for quick fill, public stations.

There are presently new offerings from Ford, GM and Dodge. I can only speak to the details on GM, but do your homework CAREFULLY when comparing. There are some important differences.
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Old 10-04-2012, 09:54 AM   #4
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I don't get it. Let me clarify. I get why using CNG for fuel is a good thing. I just don't get why it's all that newsworthy.

First paragraph from the article:
Denver - Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he expects a coalition of 22 states will agree to buy as many 10,000 vehicles annually that run on compressed natural gas — if U.S. automakers build them.
I see City of Little Rock vehicles with CNG badges on them all the time. Not the buses, but vans and pickups. They're still new, but the article sounds like it's not possible to buy CNG vehicles. Further down in the article, they drop in:
Chrysler and General Motors Co. are offering "bi-fuel" trucks that run on either compressed natural gas or gasoline.
and:
Ford Motor Co. offers a CNG version of its Transit Connect Taxi, and CNG is an option for Ford E-Series vans and F-Series Super Duty trucks.
Doesn't sound like getting them is a problem to me. Just buy them.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:00 AM   #5
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Vaughn, problem is, automakers have been dropping in and out of this market for several decades. Because the US cannot settle on a definitive energy policy, when infrastructure falls away, there is no retail market. Some municipal and private Fleets who central fuel out of their own private stations have been using OEM and aftermarket conversions for a very long time.

CNG, recently, is experiencing a comeback. BUT, automakers have been burned with this in the past....thus the "cautious" comment....and that is true. GM is watching the market carefully, before considering any further models and configurations as an OEM system, or hardened engine offerings to the aftermarket.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:27 AM   #6
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I am surprised that the Governors have not asked Canada to join in. UPS and Fed Ex are converting a large fleets to operate on CNG in the northwest.

Along these lines VW and a few other manufactures currently have engines they sell around the world that get in excess of 70 MPH but are forbidden from selling them in the US because of the reduced fuel tax to the government that they would produce.

Like I said above thank God for Governors and private companies that will push this issue.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:37 AM   #7
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Howie, there are others. Believe it or not, probably the biggest "pusher" of alternative fuels (CNG and others) are the Clean Cities organizations, which get some of their funding from the Fed DOE. They are an educator to fleets and the public re. alt fuels and promote knowledge swapping through networking and availability of state alt fuel use incentives and infrastructure grants.

I happen to sit on the Chicago Area Clean Cities board and a State of Illinois EPA employee is our current chair. There is actually a LOT of interactive synergy between private and public fleets, the states, OEMs and vendors, and the Feds, in this arena. A lot more than the public is aware of.

You can find info on my local area and our efforts here:

Illinois Green Fleets

and here

ChicagoCleanCities.org
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:44 AM   #8
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I have no big problem CNG. We owned poultry and beef farms when I was a kid. The the pickups I drove to high school and college were propane powered. An 80 gallon propane tank held enough to get the 100 miles to college, run around a little and get home to refuel. Maintaining the ability to use switch between propane and gasoline was a must, though.

They drive fine, but, the availability of refuel stations is the issue. It worked for us then because we could refuel at our farms, but trips out of town meant a switch to gasoline.

Granted, limited range fleets like transit buses and local delivery trucks can work with a single refuel station.

I believe diesel is the better choice. It just works. The engines are 20 percent more efficient than any gas engine to start with, and that can be improved upon. And, existing fuel infrastructure can be used.

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Old 10-04-2012, 10:46 AM   #9
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I am surprised that the Governors have not asked Canada to join in. UPS and Fed Ex are converting a large fleets to operate on CNG in the northwest.
We have been on and off this bandwagon too. About 15-20 years ago, IIRC, there was a significant tax incentive for people to convert to CNG, and lots of fleets did, most notably the airport limos.

But political support for it dried up and it's gone now.

There is still the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance, which will help with any questions and point out suppliers that will make sure that supply is available if you are about to invest in a fleet that uses it.

But we are a big exporter of gasoline now, and the Prime Minister of our country is from out west where it mostly comes from, so I can't imagine any support in the near future for CNG...
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HowieE View Post
I am surprised that the Governors have not asked Canada to join in. UPS and Fed Ex are converting a large fleets to operate on CNG in the northwest.

Along these lines VW and a few other manufactures currently have engines they sell around the world that get in excess of 70 MPH but are forbidden from selling them in the US because of the reduced fuel tax to the government that they would produce.

Like I said above thank God for Governors and private companies that will push this issue.
Howie,

I am assuming that you meant 70 MPG vs. MPH. If this information is accurate, our government should be ashamed of itself for not allowing importation of these engines because it would not be good for tax collection.

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Old 10-04-2012, 10:50 AM   #11
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"They drive fine, but, the availability of refuel stations is the issue. It worked for us then because we could refuel at our farms, but trips out of town meant a switch to gasoline."

I had a cng/gas bobcat and a "wet feed" on my propane tank at home. Thanks to the EPA and their rules protecting me from myself, the "wet feed" was pulled. The USFS has several new F-150 cng/gas trucks in their fleet here.
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:51 AM   #12
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Aage, the incentives are not gone. They come and go, and vary in amounts per budget year, but they are present in many areas.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:46 AM   #13
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Howie,

I am assuming that you meant 70 MPG vs. MPH. If this information is accurate, our government should be ashamed of itself for not allowing importation of these engines because it would not be good for tax collection.

Brian
Yes a typing error, it is MPG

If we wait for our Government to be Ashamed nothing would ever get done.

Yes CNG has had its rises and falls in the past but the limiting factor in the past has always been CONVERSION not dealer ready vehicles. Conversion has always had a cost factor that limited the return on investment so it was only attractive to a limited few.

This is a new ballgame if manufactures can be convinced to provide a product designed for mass sales.

I envision small forward thinking towns adopting CNG and putting in fueling stations for their local police and administrative fleets. If those stations were card access and made available to the local plumbers, carpenters, and florist delivery I see significant numbers of local businesses buying new vehicles during the next replacement cycle.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:08 PM   #14
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Aage, the incentives are not gone. They come and go, and vary in amounts per budget year, but they are present in many areas.
Are you talking about the US or Canada? I don't think they still exist here, but I'm no expert.

Here's the Wikipedia reference to what happened here. The US story follows it.

Compressed natural gas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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