Published on July 15, 2014

Alt-fuel trucks to hit 14% by 2035

(United Parcel Service of America Inc. photo)
A UPS instructor gives drivers training on an alternate-fuel truck.

BOULDER, Colo. (July 15, 2014) — Worldwide sales of alternative fuel vehicles will reach 14 percent of total sales of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2035, according to Navigant Research.

Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles represent less than 5 percent of the total vehicle market today, according to the research firm, and about 94 percent of these use conventional internal combustion engines powered by gasoline or diesel.

Despite its minority status among all vehicles on the road, the truck segment consumes a far greater portion of the total fuel and energy consumed in the road transportation sector because of low average fuel economy and high annual mileage.

The trucking market’s dependency on oil has pushed governments to examine programs that will speed the adoption of alternative fuel technologies, according to Navigant Research, a unit of Navigant Consulting Inc. of Boulder.

Less expensive alternatives to petroleum-based fuels, such as natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas and electricity, are beginning to make inroads as fleet managers see a return on investment in as few as three years given the right circumstances.

See how United Parcel Service of America Inc. is a trendsetter when it comes to greater use of fully electric and natural gas-powered vehicles in its global fleet. Check out “Goodbye ‘Dino’ Fuel” in the special section on Servicing Hybrids and Natural Gas Vehicles in the July 7 print edition of Tire Business.

“Attractive business cases for medium- and heavy-duty alternative fuel vehicles are emerging across varying segments of the market,” said Scott Shepard, research analyst with Navigant Research. “Natural gas has a significant advantage over most alternative fuels, in that low fuel costs and advances in infrastructure for both liquefied natural gas and fast-fill compressed natural gas make the fuel competitive in all market segments, including heavy duty long-haul trucking.”

Navigant Research forecasts that global annual medium- and heavy-duty truck sales and conversions will grow to 7.1 million vehicles by 2035 from 4.3 million in 2014.  

While diesel will remain the primary fuel choice of medium- and heavy-duty trucks throughout the forecast period, the percentage of trucks powered by diesel is expected to fall to 76 percent by 2035 from more than 79 percent in 2014.

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