January 13, 2014 9:15 AM, EST
Annual Sales of Nat Gas Trucks and Buses Expected to Reach 400,000 by 2022
UPS Inc.

Worldwide annual sales of natural-gas trucks and buses are expected to rise to nearly 400,000 in 2022, according to a recent report.

The rise from the current 170,000 natural gas-vehicles sold annually is driven by the price of natural gas, which costs on average 42% less than diesel, according to a report from Navigant Research.

“In North America, where natural-gas costs remain low, the number of vehicles is outstripping the development of refueling stations,” Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant, said in a statement.

“In Asia Pacific, China and other developing markets are looking to natural gas to help address environmental woes in large cities. As a result, the total number of natural-gas trucks and buses on the road by 2022 is anticipated to reach nearly 4 million,” Hurst said.

The payback period for natural gas-powered heavy-duty trucks can be as short as 1.5 years in North America, according to the report, as the price of liquefied natural gas is more variable than compressed natural gas.

“New markets for natural-gas vehicles, such as the United States and China, tend to focus on fleet markets, particularly trucks and buses, because they require fewer refueling stations, and fuel costs have become the highest or second-highest cost for fleets,” the report said.

The study analyzed the global market for heavy-duty and medium-duty trucks and buses as well as related issues, including refueling availability and competing alternative drive technology.