Fueling a Sustainable Future An Evaluation of Natural Gas as an Alternative Fuel for Commercial Trucking

Petty, Taylor [Browse]
Senior thesis
95 pages


Wagner, Fabian [Browse]
Class year
Summary note
This research explores the economic and environmental viability of natural gas for heavy-duty long-haul vehicles in commercial trucking fleets. While there is substantial literature on the emergence of natural gas as a feasible alternative fuel, recent uncertainty in oil prices, as well as the appearance of new and more complete data on emissions, calls for a more complete study that addresses these uncertainties. Using cost benefit, well-to-wheel life cycle, and pollution modeling analyses, this investigation found that while the environmental impact of using natural gas in heavy-duty vehicles is smaller compared to diesel, it is uneconomical for companies to invest in natural gas heavy-duty vehicles. When the societal health benefits of greenhouse gases and air pollution are incorporated into the economic analysis, the economic case for natural gas significantly improves. However, even with the inclusion of societal health benefits, an investment in natural gas remains too costly for fleet owners, as this research finds that the payback occurs after the typical target payback period of three years.
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