PickensPlan

Ok here is what I don't understand. The savings is so great why cant we get a nation wide truck stop like TA or Petro to carry natural gas. I think if they did one of the big company's like Swift would start switching over.

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Hello Michael:

Well you know Pilot Travel/ Flying J has signed a contract with "Clean Energy" which is the Natural Gas Fueling Providers.

 

TA/Petro is much more resistant to change. I know this personally from my writings on the safe trucker parking bill called "Jason's Law" & from a story about crimes against truckers & criminal activities in and around truck stops in which TA's name pops up the most.

 

The trucking industry is very resistant to change , I suspect mostly because their cronies & phonies who have created a closenit group of allies who make the decisions & make the money can be rocked very hard should some other energy source get a foothold.

American Trucking Associations (ATA) President Bill Graves told the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee in testimony March 31 that the biodiesel lobby is hobbling competition from higher-quality, all-hydrocarbon renewable diesel because of lobbied provisions in U.S. tax law.

 

Bill Graves is a former Governor from Kansas and he has not been a willing fan of Pickens Plan.

Long Haul Trucking is really not an option for a fleet like Swift at this time until coast to coast fueling sites are in place. Fleets of concrete mixers, or UPS, Mail Trucks, things like this that return to one area for fueling are more practical. This will be a fight to keep people uninformed so the old ways that are getting us nowhere stay in place.

 

If you are a trucker, you know the ATA also known as the the Anti Trucker Association and Anti American in my opinion, is about shifting costs & blame to anyone else but themselves. They fought the EPA and then they partnered with them and now to be a Smart Way Transport Winner you will recognize the top recipients of the award are large carriers who do not provide APU devices for the drivers but they do have a compliant tractor and trailer.

 

The ATA is going to try to prevent broad support for this because they cannot control it, but we are talking about America's future and this is why individuals need to take action and become more educated & engaged in this topic.

Michael,

 

Clean Energy Group and Chesapeake Energy just signed a contract together a couple of weeks ago to put in 150 LNG stations "where demand warrants."  They are going to be installing these at Flying J truckstops.  But LNG (liquified natural gas) is different than CNG.  The liquified gas is at -260 degrees or so.  It's pumped into specially insulated tanks on the vehicle, but you can't store it for very long.  It warms up and "boils off," turning back into a gas.  So you've gotta fill up the tank and get back on the road and burn the stuff pretty quickly or it all evaporates.  The good news is that the tanks can be smaller and cheaper than CNG tanks.  OTR trucks are a good candidate for this technology.   Some school bus fleets are using it.  

 

The other big problem is a twofold problem.

 

1.  As near as I can tell the dedicated CNG trucks use engines that are 100% torn down and rebuilt.  They put in different pistons to reduce the compression ratio.  They rework the head to add spark plugs, and they add a spark timing mechanism.  This costs around 30K per vehicle and when you're done you've got what? An engine that's basically a really heavy and really expensive gasoline engine that you then put natural gas into.  It messes with the physics and you lose a lot of the advantages of a diesel.  I haven't been able to figure out why anyone would do this.  It doesn't make economic sense. I think there must be some sort of subsidy or tax credit that's motivating this.  But that's not a viable model going forward.

 

2.  The diesel/CNG blending technologies are awesome.  You can run up to 85% CNG/15% diesel.  I talked to a man yesterday who designs and sells these kits for small diesels and he's run 165K mi on a converted bifuel Duramax.  He regularly gets 60 mpg+ on the diesel side and about 20 mpg + on the CNG side.  100 mpg diesel side is possible when there is a really light load on the engine.  He says he runs a 1 micron oil filter and has NEVER CHANGED HIS OIL.  He sends samples of it to a lab in Cleveland for analysis, but thus far it is still within specs.  Think about that, diesel owners. No oil change for 165K miles.

 

But the CNG tanks are bulky and figuring out where to hang them on a Freightliner without sacrificing diesel fuel storage space is difficult. The EPA regs aren't super clear to me concerning these diesel conversions.  I've actually got a call in to the EPA to ask some questions.  Nobody wants to mess with the EPA.  Their regs are complicated and difficult to understand.  If you screw up they can drop the hammer on you in a very ugly way.  That can ruin a business. And a life. 

 

So there is a chicken and egg phenomenon.  Why spend a hundred thousand dollars on a fueling station when there aren't very many LNG or CNG trucks to buy the fuel, and you can't store the fuel for very long or you get the same kind of boil off problem that you get in the vehicle tank?  And why buy the LNG or CNG trucks for your fleet when there aren't very many places to fill them up?  

 

Getting this started is either going to take government subsidies (which I generally do not support as a concept, though there are some times when they do make sense) or an economically viable model and a restraint on and further clarity from the regulatory bodies.

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