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Natural gas truck sales rise despite decreased fueling infrastructure

Oct. 21, 2022
Retail sales of Class 8s that run on the alternative fuel were 18% higher for the first eight months of 2022 compared to the same period last year. However, the number of available public and private fueling stations has dwindled.

Retail sales of heavy-duty natural gas trucks in the U.S. and Canada for the first eight months of the year outpaced the same period in 2021 by 18%, according to ACT Research’s Alternative Fuels Quarterly, but fueling infrastructure for these Class 8s continues to contract.

This summer was volatile for Class 8 NG tractors, according to reports from the six major truck OEMs, which account for about 60% of the heavy-duty natural gas market. June saw a 33% decrease in sales of Class 8 NG vehicles compared to June 2021. However, July sales surged to 204% of July 2021’s numbers, and August was up 20% compared to a year ago.

See also: Fleets try to meet shippers’ newest request: sustainability

June 2022 saw only a 4% drop in sales from May, but July volumes spiked 82% month-over-month before pulling back 33% in August.

Through all the volatility the combined sales in the three-month period extended and increased the annual gain, resulting in the first eight months of the year exceeding the same period in 2021 by 18%.

However, the number of public compressed natural gas (CNG) stations operating in the U.S. has dropped, according to the ACT Fuels Quarterly. By mid-September, there were 822 public CNG stations and 54 liquid natural gas (LNG) fueling spots nationwide, making for 15 fewer CNG stations but the same amount of LNG fueling locations since mid-June.

“Given the existing station count’s downward trajectory, it isn’t a surprise that planned CNG stations are also contracting. On a year-over-year basis, the number of planned private CNG stations was unchanged while planned public stations have declined more than 38%," ACT Research VP Steve Tam said in a release from the trucking industry data aggregator.  

Tam also said that 4,572 private U.S. stations exist, with six being planned, a decrease of 31 private stations from last quarter, adding that “we presume these are temporarily offline, rather than shuttered.”

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