The use of natural gas is growing in the transportation sector in Québec. For several reasons, more and more companies are choosing to convert their fleets – or part of them – to natural gas.
First, besides being more economical, vehicles that run on natural gas have a considerable range and are just as reliable as diesel-fueled vehicles. Next, the network of public stations is expanding, and truckers can count on several refuelling points around Québec, in Ontario and in the United States.
All fuels used to power a vehicle, even when stored on a vehicle, are not considered hazardous. And so a natural gas truck can travel through a tunnel without any problem.
Depending on the capacity of the tanks installed (equivalent of up to 210 gallons of diesel), a natural gas truck can easily cover more than 1,250 km on a full tank.
Refuelling a natural gas truck at a public station is fast, and the time it takes is similar to filling a diesel truck. Also, refuelling a natural gas truck does not require supervision and no competency card is needed, as is the case for propane.
The price of natural gas is much more stable than that of petrol or diesel and is not dependent on the price of a barrel of oil. Its price is very stable and the cost of CNG or LNG at the pump can retail for as low as $0.60/diesel litre equivalent.
Natural gas is just as safe – even safer – than diesel. Compared to diesel, the concentration of natural gas in the air must be much greater, and its temperature much higher, for it to catch on fire. Since natural gas is stored under pressure, the tanks are designed with a thick aluminum wall, reinforced with carbon fibre, and so they resist impacts much better than diesel tanks.
By following the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations, the costs of maintaining a natural gas truck are comparable to those of a diesel truck. And, since natural gas trucks do not need complex systems for treating exhaust gases (or for urea, or filters for particulates), their long-term reliability may turn out to be superior to that of a diesel truck.