Natural gas truck sales get a boost

Class 8 natural gas retail sales rose 24% so far this year in the U.S. and Canada, according to the ACT Alternative Fuels Quarterly report.

However, the industry analyst notes the comparison was somewhat unfair as total U.S. Class 8 truck sales were also up 28% over the same period.

“Sales of natural gas-powered vehicles as reported by the six major truck OEMs, who account for approximately 60% of the heavy-duty natural gas market, were mixed in the June to August time period, with June experiencing a sizeable sequential gain and even more impressive year-over-year growth,” said Steve Tam, vice-president at ACT Research.

“July natural gas Class 8 vehicle sales volumes suffered large declines, also reducing the year-to-date increase, while activity in August recovered, returning to solid short-term improvement, despite lagging the year-ago comparison by a small margin. Looking at the most recent month, sales spiked 68% month over month, but were 4% lower than the year-ago level.”

Tam added there has also been increased interest in electrification, noting “[we’re] seeing an overall increase in electric charging stations, both existing and planned, but a continuing decline of total natural gas stations, particularly those planned for the future. That said, we continue to see articles about natural gas use in transportation, as well as discussions about hydrogen fuel cells and investments in electric commercial vehicle development, making trade-industry headlines.”