According to a quarterly report from ACT Research, U.S. and Canadian natural gas Class 8 retail sales rose 13% in 2017, but slid 23% year-to-date through November 2018. Year-to-date sales in November 2017 were up 9%.
“On a nominal basis, natural gas retail sales are down about 700 units for the first eleven months of 2018 on a year-over-year basis,” said Ken Vieth, senior partner and general manager at ACT Research. “Based on news released in the popular press, natural gas vehicle purchases continued to be dominated by refuse fleets, as well as transit and school bus operators.”
Vieth attributed the drop to a narrowed fuel price spread between diesel and natural gas.
“That said, it is important to remember that the conversion of a fleet from diesel to natural gas doesn’t rest entirely on the savings of fuel,” he added. “Natural gas offers more consistent fuel pricing and is one way fleets can meet more stringent environmental requirements, particularly where renewable natural gas is available. Transportation power is no longer a one-size-fits-all proposition. All viable commercial vehicle power alternatives, from diesel and natural gas to electric of all kinds, must now be considered to accurately measure potential cost savings, while meeting future emissions.”