A mainstream switch to non-petroleum fuels won’t be possible without the support of commercial fleets and over-the-road truck buyers, which account for a huge percentage of total miles driven. These truck fleets depend on a solid infrastructure in order to effectively schedule their job-critical operations, however, and (quite understandably) will hesitate to adopt any alternative fuels programs – despite the potential cost savings – until that “rock-solid” infrastructure is in place.
In a bid to address the issue, a group of alternative fuel activists is putting forward plans for what it calls “the Interstate Clean Transportation Corridor” (ICTC) which proposes a series of LNG and CNG filling stations connecting heavily trafficked interstate trucking routes between Utah, California, and Nevada (below).
The stations will allow long-haul truckers to take advantage of the significant potential savings involved in switching from gasoline to CNG and LNG, and significantly reduce the amount of harmful (potentially fatal) carbon emissions from the trucks’ current diesel engines.
The land for the first ICTC station (a for-profit, privately-owned business, similar to the one that recently opened in NJ) was effectively donated by UPS, which is heavily investing in a number of technologies to reduce its carbon footprint and (of course) reduce its cost of doing business. “This is running a lot less cost, so there is an alternative to that, saving us money as well as emissions,” explains D.J. Romero of UPS, who calculates that a shift from diesel to natural-gas will more than halve the company’s operating costs.
Additionally, proponents of the ICTC estimate that, once completed, the alternative fuel conversions it would support could save 1.2 million barrels of oil a day by 2020 (by their numbers, two-thirds the oil currently imported by the US from the Persian Gulf).
Those are some pretty optimistic figures, to be sure – but I’m a big fan of CNG fuels (as this, this, and this article would probably indicate) so I’m looking on the bright side: if the ICTC figures are even half right, that’s 500,000 fewer barrels of oil burned each day. I like the sound of that!
You can check out some of the numbers in the video, below (from EnergyNOW).
Source: EnergyNOW, via Cleantechnica.