Building a Better Collection Truck
Those lumbering Class 8 trucks that run daily routes from residential pickup to transfer station to landfill endure the most rugged conditions on the planet. It’s important that all their parts are robust so that the whole is resilient.
It’s important to consider more than just weight capacity and length requirements when selecting a collection truck. Although there is no single specification that will work for every truck across the country, the factors to contemplate are similar and include operating environment, road conditions, average speed, body type, weather, driver training and skill level, maintenance capabilities, and expected life cycle of the vehicle.
Charles Cook, Peterbilt segment manager, adds a few more to the list. “Terrain, loaded conditions and percentage of bobtail or empty miles have a direct impact on suspension choices. A change as simple, at least on the front end, as an axle ratio can have a significant impact on the performance and operating efficiencies of the vehicle.”
As technology evolves, features and options become more advanced, choices become more difficult. Cook advises that the person responsible for day-to-day operation and maintenance work with a dealer should evaluate features on a case-by-case basis to optimize operating capabilities and balance that with efficiency. “Options like block heaters and heated fuel filters may be a good idea for trucks operating in Minnesota, but may not be required for a truck operating in Florida,” he says by way of an example. “A relatively small amount of time spent up front in the specification process can prevent a significant amount of rework later.”
The Truck That Peterbilt
Peterbilt’s Model 320 is available in three cab configurations: left-hand drive, right-hand steer, and a dual-steer configuration with right-hand stand-up drive position. In 2011 Peterbilt introduced several enhancements to the Model 320 low cab forward, specifically targeted at increasing efficiencies in refuse applications.
The 320 is equipped with the Cummins ISL-G engine. Efficient and emissions-compliant, the ISL-G natural gas engine offers a 320 horsepower rating and 1,000 lb.-ft. of torque, making it a suitable choice for short-haul, regional, refuse and dump trucks with GCW/GVW rated up to 66,000 pounds.
Two new steer gear options enhance maneuverability. The Sheppard HD94 offers front axle ratings up to 12,000 pounds, while the Sheppard SD110 offers front axle ratings up to 20,000 pounds. Both steering gear options offer 10% wheel cut improvement, decreased turning radius and enhanced serviceability. The Sheppard SD110 is available in several configurations for added flexibility: a single gear rated up to 14,600 pounds; a single gear with assist, rated up to 20,000 pounds, and a dual gear for either a left- or right-hand, rated up to 20,000 pounds.
Standard LED marker lights provide longer life and reduce amp draw. To enhance visibility and safety, Peterbilt’s new tri-plane mirrors contain convex mirrors on the upper and lower planes with a remote-controlled flat mirror on the middle plane. All three surfaces are heated, and feature an arm system that allows the mirror to be folded either forward or backward. For added flexibility, the mirrors can be either traditionally mounted on the driver and passenger doors, or, for a wider view range, the passenger side mirror can be installed to the front of the cab.
In 2011, Peterbilt standardized air disc brakes on the steer axle for all heavy-duty conventional models, an industry first. The Model 320 became the first Class 8 in the industry to come standard with them on both drive and steer axles. Air Disc brakes provide reduced stopping distance, longer life and easier serviceability. “Brakes can represent a significant expense for trucks operating in stop-and-go refuse collection applications,” Cook says. By taking the lead in implementing this technology, Peterbilt helps reduce the cost of operations.
A lightweight aluminum, fender-mounted battery box is now available for the Model 320. Utilizing the same frame space as a traditional battery box, the new box combines up to three batteries, mount-optional battery jumper posts and a disconnect all in one location. By configuring these components together, the Model 320 can save 4 to 18 inches of linear frame space, allowing for a shorter wheelbase that saves weight. The battery box can also be installed on either side of the truck, simplifying body installation. “This is beneficial to customers ordering the Hydraulic Launch Assist system, installing an automated sideloader or installing a residential front loader body,” Cook concludes.
Peterbilt, an industry leader in development and implementation of “green” technology, has been focused on providing greater fuel savings and reduced emissions while reducing its carbon footprint. The Model 320 Hybrid features a conventional power train supplemented by a hydraulic system. This system achieves maximum gain in vehicles that operate in stop-and-go duty cycles like curbside refuse collection.
In 2009, Cook notes, Peterbilt expanded its hybrid technology to include the Eaton Hydraulic Launch Assist system with the Model 320. “We’re the only ones with a hydraulic hybrid system in production,” says Robert Golin, business development and product planning lead for hydraulics for Eaton Vehicle Group, based in Galesburg, MN. “Hydraulics works best for the refuse industry.”
Manufactured at the company’s plant in Spencer, IA, the HLA system recovers the truck’s kinetic energy normally wasted as heat during braking, stores it in pressurized accumulators and uses it to supplement the engine’s power during acceleration. It’s particularly effective for vehicles with duty cycles that include numerous stops and starts.
When the truck brakes, hydraulic fluid is compressed in the high-pressure accumulator, providing retardation on the driveline and reducing the workload on the service brakes. Known as regenerative braking, this process extends the life of brake components and provides additional stopping power. When the truck accelerates from a stopped position, the compressed hydraulic fluid is released, providing supplemental torque on the driveline, reducing the workload on the engine for increased fuel efficiency, longer engine life, better acceleration and reduced emissions. The system increases productivity by allowing the truck to get to the next stop in less time.
In addition to providing more torque for quicker acceleration and shorter cycle times, benefits of the parallel hybrid hydraulic system include improved fuel efficiency, emissions reduction and longer brake life. Fuel economy savings have been reported in the realm of 15-30 percent, but Golin says it’s duty-cycle-dependent. However, with fuel averaging $4 per gallon, based on a 250-day year, the ability to save 4-6 gallons a day adds up to $5,000-6,000 a year.
“Fleets are interested in fuel economy but find other benefits,” Golin says. Maintenance and operational cost savings are two. “Brakes are the number-two expense after fuel for Class 8 trucks. A brake job costs $1,500 to $2,200. That includes one hour of labor per axle and the cost of parts: pads and shoes. If you can get four times the life on brakes with an HLA truck, it’s possible to reduce maintenance to one brake job a year. That’s significant savings.”
Productivity is enhanced by the HLA system. According to Golin, 175 horsepower from the hybrid system on acceleration is a significant boost. “A 25-second cycle becomes 23. It may not sound like a lot, but when you add it up over an average of 900 stops, it can save one-half to 1 hour a day. With truck costs of $75 to $100 per hour, that’s $8,000 to 12,000 a year, a bigger benefit than a fuel system.” In addition, private fleets can reroute trucks for even more productivity.
Crunching these kinds of numbers can lead to payback in two to three years, according to Eaton. But the black numbers in the ledger don’t stop there. The HLA system also reduces nitrogen oxides, particulates, and carbon dioxide. “Fleets are winning bids on green technology,” Golin says.
Doin’ It in Denton the HLA Way
Other fleets are simply watching their budgets. The City of Denton, TX, currently has one Peterbilt with HLA technology, but Mike Ellis says two are on order and he expects to acquire seven more soon, thanks to grant money through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Already, he’s reporting fuel savings of about 28%, brake savings of 50% and emissions savings of 30%. “We’re doing brake changes at 18-month intervals versus every six to eight months.” He estimates payback in six years, explaining that since the City keeps the trucks eight years, the last two years “are close to free.”
Located north of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area at the “tip of the golden triangle,” Denton is home to the Peterbilt factory, which Ellis says is only part of the reason the majority of the 1,185 vehicles in his fleet are Peterbilt. The two entities are closely linked, with the municipality performing in-house warranty work for Peterbilt in addition to conducting R&D work with the factory. Ellis lists projects such as electric bucket trucks, the original prototype of the 330 hybrid, brake testing, a redesigned cab (coming out soon) and, of course, HLA.
“Our operators love it,” Ellis says of the HLA system. “They pull their foot off, touch the brakes and it charges the accumulator to slow down. It’s even efficient with a heavy foot.” Driver comfort and visibility are of the utmost importance, he indicates. Helping keep operators safer while doing a better job is key, but the driving force behind their purchase decision centered on downtime. Because Peterbilt is more reliable, Ellis explains, he can keep his fleet size to a minimum by reducing downtime. “We can keep the trucks on the road instead of in the shop.”
When they do need to go to the shop, Ellis says Peterbilt’s dealer-sponsored warranty program means owners can work on them in their own shops. “There’s no need to take the trucks elsewhere.” Because Ellis is “very aggressive on maintenance,” the city of Denton has ranked as one of the top 100 fleets four years in a row and is number 20 this year. Once the trucks cycle out of their first life, he gives them a second life. “We take a rearloader, remove the body and rebuild it, then put on a dump body. We’re good stewards of tax dollars.”
Seen in South Beach...?
The industry is very conservative, Golin believes; they “go with what they know.” Nevertheless, he says the HLA system is “on the verge of massive acceptance. Payback is three to four years on a truck lasting 10—without any incentives. We’re getting there, but not fast enough—costs need to go lower.” He envisions it as the future for the refuse industry because it can save money and reduce emissions without cutting productivity. However, he notes, “The decision has to make sense. Each application has an optimum solution.”
Danny Diaz, division director fleet management for the Miami-Dade County Solid Waste Department, found a solution with the RunWise advanced series hydraulic hybrid drives from Parker Hannifin Corporation last December. Parker Hannifin, a global leader in motion and control technologies, partnered with Autocar, a leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles and class 8 trucks, to deliver hybrid-powered refuse vehicles to three South Florida municipalities: the city of Miami, the city of Hialeah, and Miami-Dade County.
The new Autocar E3 refuse vehicles dramatically increase fuel savings and lower emissions and noise, even as they improve drivability and performance. A month of testing in South Florida revealed a 42% reduction in fuel consumption, the equivalent of nearly double the miles per gallon. On an annual basis, the green technology reduces each truck’s carbon footprint by more than 38 tons along routes with frequent stops. In addition, the technology extends brake life for each truck by up to eight times, depending on the duty cycle, resulting in dramatically reduced maintenance costs.
As part of the pilot program, an experienced driver spent four weeks on two Miami routes. “The data convinced us,” Diaz says. Minimal wear has allowed the brakes to go two years without having to be replaced. With three axles, Diaz says, it seemed like every three months that one axle was getting a brake job or an adjustment, but one year since acquiring the Autocar E3, they’ve done none. In addition, he has recorded a 40% to 45% reduction in fuel usage. “We budgeted for a five-to-six-year return on investment, but with fuel at $4 per gallon now, we’re looking at four to five years—and that’s with the prototype upcharge.”
Despite the extra cost, Diaz is pleased to be a pioneer because he believes it’s changing the refuse industry. “There’s nothing else like it out there.” Currently there are only 11 in the US, but Diaz will be adding to that number as part of his regular replacement schedule. When Miami-Dade switched from manual to automatic in 2004, Diaz replaced 80 at a time, but as he phases out older trucks in the conversion to an all-hybrid fleet, he expects to add 30 per year over the next six years.
Miami-Dade’s goals in switching include green initiatives, fuel reduction and extended maintenance intervals. Increasing from 1.5 to 2.5 miles per gallon was the “dominating factor,” he says. An “extremely tight budget” was sufficient motivator and Diaz is working on federal grants for further assistance.
Benefits have included a smoother and quieter ride that feels safer because the operators don’t ride the brakes as hard. “On the route, the truck brakes on its own and uses hydraulic power,” Diaz explains. His crew had to undergo training because he says they were accustomed to riding the brake, but with this hybrid system, the truck rolls to the next house without applying the accelerator. However, “if you brake too hard, it bypasses the hybrid system to the friction brake. You must drive it like a regular car: let the truck work for you.”
Proprietary software from RunWise allows for seamless shifting. A cradle replaces the transmission, Diaz explains. The direct-drive system provides better drivability and fuel mileage, with reduced emissions.
Because the reduction in emissions is based on fuel usage, it’s important that the drivers adjust to a new driving style. The savings in fuel is matched by time saved. As the drivers adapt to the hybrid system, Diaz reports an increase from 3 miles per hour in a conventional truck to 6 miles per hour in the hybrid truck—and because it has a larger body, it holds more. The trucks are rotated, but even on the less dense routes, they’re still seeing 45% savings.
Another important aspect is reliability. Diaz reports 95% uptime. Word is getting around; Diaz has been inundated with interviews, calls and visits. “The city of Charlotte is looking at them,” he says. Miami-Dade gained additional attention when the municipality won a Swanagold excellence award in August 2011.
This gas-fueled Autocar truck sports All Bright Sanitation’s livery on its McNeilus front-loading body.
Fontaine Modification Co., in Charlotte, NC, is also working on several projects. One—alternative fuels—is driven by regulations. “We want to be on the green track,” states Dan Jaynes, vice president of new product development. A complete electric engine—motor and battery—is being used in a yard tractor at ports in Los Angeles to meet the zero-emissions law and the 25-mile zone. “It’s still in its infancy,” he explains. “We’re working on an even draw. The charging sequence and draw are critical for longevity.”
The engine features a dual setup for CNG and diesel or CNG conversion. “The engine handles either fuel,” Jaynes explains. Two fuels are in one combustion chamber simultaneously, using two sets of fuel injectors. By using the original diesel engine and the OEM transmission, in theory, it’s possible to retrofit. The benefit is the cost ratio of diesel to CNG.
Brandon Hall, process engineer at Fontaine, is working on a dual-fuel engine due out in six months. The goal is to maintain output, torque and horsepower. The reason behind it is that CNG doesn’t have the same energy density as diesel. “CNG works great when you’re going down the road,” he explains, “but you want diesel when you’re under load.”
The project involves a refrigerator truck with a diesel-powered generator that burns a lot of fuel. A PTO-driven hydraulic pump powers the generator, Hall explains, but often the generator is too large to mount near the engine. The customer wanted green technology and fuel savings.
Fontaine’s system features a hydraulic-powered generator that plugs into the trailer for the refrigerator, so the truck powers the trailer. It reduces fuel usage and emissions. Firetrucks use a similar three-phase system.
Another Fontaine project is a dual stand-up drive. The cab of an International or Freightliner truck is replaced by a vertical box and dual drive. According to David Smith, the right side allows sitting or standing. “For low-speed applications, the operator can stand up. It allows an operator to get through the route quicker.” In accordance with federal laws, a belt guard and a bi-fold door protect the operator.
It takes an existing, economical truck and creates a less expensive modification that competes with a low cab-forward truck, Smith says. “Our cost is $30,000 to $35,000 less.” This high-profile project is Fontaine’s bread and butter core product, he adds.
The Ride of Your Life
No matter how smooth an engine or HLA or hydraulic hybrid system makes a collection truck operate, or how gently the braking system makes it stop, it’s the suspension that’s responsible for a good ride.
Rob Arnold, mechanic for the city of Norfolk, VA, knows that. His fleet of 82 Crane Carrier trucks serves 70,000 residents on 36 routes. “Crane Carrier is heavy duty; it takes the abuse of this industry and its cab is better made than [others.]”
Arnold recently purchased a new truck with a Ridewell tag axle. “It holds the same weight as a tandem axle,” he states, “and it cuts tire wear 50%. We used to get 2,500 to 3,000 miles on tires with a tandem; this has more than doubled that.”
Unlike a lift axle, a tag axle stays on the ground; it doesn’t lift when the truck is empty. Instead, situated behind the drive axle, as Arnold explains, “it steers with you.” It “locks” at speeds over 20 miles per hour to prevent drifting to the side.
Advantages include easier maneuverability, better tire wear, improved fuel economy and a smoother ride. “My drivers love it!” Arnold exclaims. “One of the guys says it rides better than his Lincoln.” Because it has the same turning radius as a single axle, he says drivers can “spin around a cul de sac instead of making three-point turns.”
The truck is lighter because there are no gears or axles in the back. “It’s the same weight as a true tandem,” Arnold points out, “but there’s only one propelling the truck. It’s just a hollow axle, spindle, bearings, hub and tire—two instead of four.” It helps with fuel economy since there’s no extra axle weight, and because it’s not turning other axles and gears, there’s no power loss. Conversely, operators can pick up and carry more because the truck itself weighs less.
In addition, Arnold mentions, the price is equivalent to a true tandem axle. He currently has four in service and has placed a bid for four or five more.
Today, everything is about money, Bill Stegemann, manager at Jody Enterprises in Bay Shore, NJ, thinks, but for him, it’s all about maintenance. “The truck payment is the focal point for some, but if you buy value, it’s good for resale.”
Jody Enterprises is a private residential refuse company with town contracts to serve approximately 40,000 homes with 22 trucks. Two years ago, they acquired the first steerable axle truck built.
“The streets are narrow and there are a lot of hills,” Stegemann explains the decision. “It’s tight quarters.” It was also tight budgets because contracts typically go to the low bidder, so the company needed an advantage.
Buying trucks equipped with Ridewell suspension costs the same, Stegemann says, but saves on labor costs and tires. Not only do the rear tires last two to three times as long, but the front tires have less wear also, due to the way the back end comes around in the turns. That’s a financial gain, but also an improvement in handling.
“It’s incredibly easier to handle,” Stegemann says. “It can go wherever a crew cab will go. It’s best in tight areas, like the bridge to Long Island. The operators love it for getting around cul de sacs and dead-end streets, especially when it’s dark at 5 a.m. and there are a lot of parked cars to maneuver around. It avoids a lot of accidents.”
The ride is “incredible,” he reports. The back axle is an air ride, so it absorbs a lot of the bumps. “The tandem trucks beat the **** out of themselves and the operators when they’re empty. That produces a lot of wear and tear on the pins. Little things add up.” Because they have 10-year service contracts, Stegemann wants the trucks to last 10 years without a lot of additional maintenance.
Sized to the route, the truck is a little smaller than others—20-yard capacity—but it’s also lighter, has a smaller transmission for better fuel economy and is faster. “It can’t go too big with this axle because of the tail weight, but three loads in this still beat two loads in the tandem axle trucks,” Stegemann indicates. “It’s a neat little Tonka toy that handles the same weight as the big 28-yard trucks. And at the end of 10 years, it’s still tight because it never carries the maximum load. That saves the truck and adds to the resale value.”
Lubed and Loaded
How long do you want to keep your truck? It’s the first question Mark Betner, heavy-duty lubrications manager for Citgo Petroleum Corp., asks. “Class 8 collection trucks are a big investment—why buy cheap oil?”
Everyone understands that the refuse industry is a vocational fleet with the most severe of duty cycles and possibly the highest number of stops per mile. “It’s all stop-and-go while heavily loaded, hauling products to the recycling or transfer station and off-road to the landfill under harsh conditions,” Betner elaborates. “The engine is constantly going up and down the torque curve.”
Fleet managers want to keep the engine running as long as possible, but, as with everything else, budget plays a role. Engine manufacturers recommend service intervals, but the cost of labor and materials, not to mention downtime, motivates the desire to extend those intervals—safely—in order to save money without warranty violations.
All lubrication manufacturers offer five or sic choices of heavy-duty engine oil that meet general specifications and comply with EPA and emissions regulations, Betner believes. “The lowest level of lube meets CJ4 [an American Petroleum Institute performance category], but you need a margin of performance to extend drain intervals.” After all, he adds, “you can meet the basic specs or you can optimize performance.”
Synthetic lube technology can extend component life three times and maintenance intervals four times. Endorsed by manufacturers, it’s easy for consumers to understand. But fuel-efficient synthetic oil is sometimes hard to justify. However, since fuel efficiency must be improved to meet emissions regulations in 2018 and because fleet owners are looking for cost savings now, Betner says fuel-efficient lube should be considered.
Unfortunately, he says, the industry has trouble getting its arms around the ROI of a higher performance oil and analysis program. “Lube is ‘unseen,’” he acknowledges. “It’s a necessary evil. People have trouble evaluating performance and they’re on a fixed budget or need to cut costs.” But, he adds, fuel-efficient lube can save money by extending drain intervals, extending component life and increasing fuel efficiency.
Citgo’s Confidence program measures the benefits of higher quality products. Managed analysis can demonstrate the fuel savings of fuel-efficient lube. No one has control over contaminants in their oil, which is why Betner says analysis is so important. “It indicates problems. It’s the only way to measure results,” he affirms, adding that if the customer doesn’t achieve mutually agreed goals, they get double their money back.
Grease is often the weak link in extending oil service, Betner believes. “It’s exposed to more contaminants: water, rain, dirt—that leads to wear.” As the manufacturer of the 2002 grease of the year, Citgo offers a synthetic grease that won’t wash out. “It can extend component life two to three times longer, it pumps well in cold temperatures, and it seals out contaminants because it stays in longer. Those are tangible results and better protection.”
There are very severe conditions in the refuse industry, Betner continues. Contamination leads to leaks in the hydraulics system. In cold weather, the truck can become sluggish. Systems can lose power transfer and efficiency; it will take longer to do the job.
“We have a love affair with engines,” Betner concludes, “but other areas are forgotten—they’re an afterthought. If there’s no problem with engine oil, most people don’t think about other areas. But where you can make a difference is with grease and hydraulics.”
Clean and Green
The refuse industry is known as one of the most severe service industries, facing extreme weather and environmental conditions, stop-and-go operation and contamination. The engine pump on a Class 8 truck is running more than just miles, says Roy Svehla, senior manager of fleet maintenance for Republic Services, the nation’s second-largest waste hauler with 16,000 Class 8 vehicles serving customers in 40 states. “It’s a constant duty cycle.”
To protect his equipment, Svehla uses fluid cleaning technology from Oil Purification Systems, Inc., based in Waterbury, CT, to remove solid and liquid contaminants from industrial lubricating fluids. It reduces the need for routine maintenance, extends equipment life and maintenance costs by as much as 80% and has a significantly lower environmental impact.
OPS is essentially a second filter mounted in a fender well, cleaning fluid that it returns to the pump. “The bypass works well with a full-flow filter,” Svehla says. By providing cleaner oil, we can extend drain intervals.” Component life is directly related to cleaner oil and extended intervals translates to less downtime. Less routine maintenance means there’s more capacity in the shop to do other things and a reduction in the number of spare trucks needed in the fleet to cover routes while some are in the shop.
“It saves oil, filters and labor,” Svehla counts. Figuring in visible metrics such as labor and parts, he estimates the health metric of his fleet by weighing downtime, road calls and compliance with the cost per engine hour. “That’s tough to calculate, but we estimate payback in 18 to 20 months. That’s a quick return on investment.
“You have to start somewhere and do what you can do,” Svehla continues. “We considered fleet uptime and spare ratios, then looked at labor. We’ve been testing for nearly two years. In that time, we have tripled our original oil change interval and we’re not changing filters. We’re confident it’s doable and we look forward to extending intervals again as the engines improve and we move to synthetics.”
The fleet department is an expense, Svehla admits. It doesn’t get good headlines. But, as he says, “If we change [fluids] less, we’re using less. That’s being a good steward of the environment. It’s the right thing to do.”
Fuel—or, more accurately, the price of fuel—is a hot topic in any industry. Bill Zobel, senior vice president of business development for Trillium USA, says compressed natural gas is all the rage. “It makes economic sense; it’s an economy-driven value proposition.”
Trillium, based in Salt Lake City, UT, is a premier provider of CNG Fueling Services, providing fuel for thousands of natural gas vehicles every day and delivering more than 35 million gallons of CNG per year.
Environmental benefits come from lower emissions. CNG is a low-carbon fuel with no diesel particulates (a known carcinogen). Economic benefits are achieved due to the price, which runs $1.50 to $2 less per gallon than diesel. Natural gas is domestic and prices are currently depressed. For a CNG truck that costs $50,000 more than a diesel truck, buying 10,000 gallons of fuel a year at $2 per gallon, payback would occur in two and a half years, Zobel calculates. And because it burns cleaner, oil changes are less frequent, saving additional money.
High-volume consumers can cut down on infrastructure by opting for return-to-base fueling, letting their fleet sit idle overnight. “It’s a cost-effective solution,” Zobel says. The entire fleet plugs in for eight to 10 hours (typically, overnight) at the operator’s location or a public network.
In addition to dedicated CNG, a dual-fuel option—CNG and diesel—allows fleet managers to avoid buying new trucks and helps them juggle the alternating cost of fuels. However, it’s based on load requirement, so weight must be taken into consideration when calculating ROI.
Zobel thinks the market will develop in 24 months since many of the major refuse firms are already using it: Waste Management, Republic, Waste Connections. “We have yet to see how it plays out,” he says. “There’s not a lot out there, but it’s a game changer.”
The barrier to entry is the cost. “It’s expensive,” Zobel admits. “The equipment, truck, infrastructure…the cost impedes rapid adoption. However, the cost is dropping off as tractor prices become competitive.” There are also incentives in the form of a federal tax rebate of 50 cents per gallon for natural gas through 2011 and a small credit for infrastructure. In addition, if the new Natural Gas Act of 2011 passes, the Alternative Fuel Tax Credit will be extended to 2016.
Every sign points to an increase in CNG: price, emissions (health), carbon (global climate change), stability, and availability. There is an abundant supply of natural gas and a desire to cut greenhouse gases. “The market is going in this direction,” Zobel confirms. “The question is how fast. The industry is cautious: The current business model works, it’s a profitable business—so they’re slow to change. CNG has favorable economics, but it’s just a piece of the picture. They have other decisions to make.”
Writer Lori Lovely focuses on topics related to transportation and technology.