Roadmap for Development of Natural Gas Vehicle Fueling Infrastructructure and Analysis of Vehicular Natural Gas Consumption by Niche Sector

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Vehicular natural gas consumption is on the rise, totaling nearly 200 million GGEs in 2005, despite declines in total NGV inventory in recent years. This may be attributed to greater deployment of higher fuel use medium- and heavy-duty NGVs as compared to the low fuel use of the natural gas-powered LDVs that exited the market through attrition, many of which were bi-fuel. Natural gas station counts are down to about 1100 from their peak of about 1300. Many of the stations that closed were under-utilized or not used at all while most new stations were developed with greater attention to ... continued below

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Yborra, Stephen C. April 30, 2007.

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Description

Vehicular natural gas consumption is on the rise, totaling nearly 200 million GGEs in 2005, despite declines in total NGV inventory in recent years. This may be attributed to greater deployment of higher fuel use medium- and heavy-duty NGVs as compared to the low fuel use of the natural gas-powered LDVs that exited the market through attrition, many of which were bi-fuel. Natural gas station counts are down to about 1100 from their peak of about 1300. Many of the stations that closed were under-utilized or not used at all while most new stations were developed with greater attention to critical business fundamentals such as site selection, projected customer counts, peak and off-peak fueling capacity needs and total station throughput. Essentially, the nation's NGV fueling infrastructure has been--and will continue--going through a 'market correction'. While current economic fundamentals have shortened payback and improved life-cycle savings for investment in NGVs and fueling infrastructure, a combination of grants and other financial incentives will still be needed to overcome general fleet market inertia to maintain status quo. Also imperative to the market's adoption of NGVs and other alternative fueled vehicle and fueling technologies is a clear statement of long-term federal government commitment to diversifying our nation's transportation fuel use portfolio and, more specifically, the role of natural gas in that policy. Based on the current NGV market there, and the continued promulgation of clean air and transportation policies, the Western Region is--and will continue to be--the dominant region for vehicular natural gas use and growth. In other regions, especially the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic states and Texas, increased awareness and attention to air quality and energy security concerns by the public and - more important, elected officials--are spurring policies and programs that facilitate deployment of NGVs and fueling infrastructure. Because of their high per-vehicle fuel use, central fueling and sensitivity to fuel costs, fleets will continue to be the primary target for NGV deployment and station development efforts. The transit sector is projected to continue to account for the greatest vehicular natural gas use and for new volume growth. New tax incentives and improved life-cycle economics also create opportunities to deploy additional vehicles and install related vehicular natural gas fueling infrastructure in the refuse, airport and short-haul sectors. Focusing on fleets generates the highest vehicular natural gas throughout but it doesn't necessarily facilitate public fueling infrastructure because, generally, fleet operators prefer not to allow public access due to liability concerns and revenue and tax administrative burdens. While there are ways to overcome this reluctance, including ''outside the fence'' retail dispensers and/or co-location of public and ''anchor'' fleet dispensing capability at a mutually convenient existing or new retail location, each has challenges that complicate an already complex business transaction. Partnering with independent retail fuel station companies, especially operators of large ''truck stops'' on the major interstates, to include natural gas at their facilities may build public fueling infrastructure and demand enough to entice the major oil companies to once again engage. Garnering national mass media coverage of success in California and Utah where vehicular natural gas fueling infrastructure is more established will help pave the way for similar consumer market growth and inclusion of public accessibility at stations in other regions. There isn't one ''right'' business model for growing the nation's NGV inventory and fueling infrastructure. Different types of station development and ownership-operation strategies will continue to be warranted for different customers in different markets. Factors affecting NGV deployment and station development include: regional air quality compliance status and the state and/or local political climate regarding mandates and/or incentives; fuel price differentials between natural gas, diesel and gasoline; existence of NGV fleets and fueling infrastructure; prospective customers financial resources; local real estate availability, cost and traffic access; regional construction labor rates; code compliance and permitting issues; local gas utility and PSC posture regarding NGV market support; and existence of a sufficient number of vehicle dealers to assure competitive pricing and technical support capability. Lack of 'feet on the street' is curbing the potential for NGV deployment and expanded NGV fueling infrastructure.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: FC26-05NT42609
  • DOI: 10.2172/922579 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 922579
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc898225

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  • April 30, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 27, 2016, 1:39 a.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 7:01 p.m.

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Yborra, Stephen C. Roadmap for Development of Natural Gas Vehicle Fueling Infrastructructure and Analysis of Vehicular Natural Gas Consumption by Niche Sector, report, April 30, 2007; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc898225/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.