Despite reasonably priced diesel fuel, U.S. and Canadian natural gas Class 8 truck retail sales improved in May, according to ACT Research.
It’s not been a good year for natural gas trucks sales, with a 24 percent drop year-to-date and a 21 percent decline year-over-year. May brought a nice rebound to the market with a 48 percent climb month-over-month.
ACT’s Natural Gas Quarterly attributes May’s improvement to a high number of repeat sales, as well as purchases from transit bus and refuse truck operators. However, diesel prices hovering just south of $2.50 per gallon are hampering sales growth.
“With the fuel price differential continuing to narrow, the ROI to convert from diesel to natural gas is moving in the wrong direction: payback periods remain lengthy,” says Ken Vieth, ACT’s senior partner and general manager. “This doesn’t mean the adoption of NG fuel has stopped or that there are no new developments supporting a future uptick in NG truck orders.”
Vieth adds infrastructure continues to be built at targeted locations but at a slowing pace, and existing natural gas equipment users are still committed to its long-term viability and emission benefits.