There is a new generation of trucks and trucking companies on the road. Trucks that create a greener footprint on our highways and trucking companies who desire to run a more economical and environmentally safe fleet. If you think only big transportation companies are stepping out into this new frontier guess again. Thanks to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and funds from Proposition 1-B* even small private mom and pop trucking companies are arming themselves with new CNG trucks. The goal is to take as many diesel particulate emitting trucks off the road as funding will allow.
Let’s face it, trucks play a huge part in the San Joaquin Valley economy which is home not only to large distribution centers but includes the main distribution channel on the West Coast. Jerrad Johnson is Vice President of B&N Trucking, a family-owned business started by his grandfather in 1968 and Jerrad has a vision for their fleet. B&N Trucking moves everything from diatomaceous earth to wine grapes and does it on rough terrain and smooth highways, all over the West Coast. Jerrad was interested in CNG technology as a way to cut costs on new equipment and fuel. Little did he know he was stepping into a technology that would energize his company and open up new possibilities.
First B&N Trucking rented a CNG Class A heavy duty truck to see if it would meet the demands of the hauls they were making. Yes, even on the rough roads of mining locations the CNG trucks were right there with diesel. With diesel prices at $4.00 a gallon compared to CNG costing $2.31 per gasoline gallon equivalent (gge) they experienced savings right away. Jerrad started educating himself on CNG technology. One discovery, CNG gets close to the same miles per gallon (mpg) as diesel. Yet CNG trucks were miles ahead on over-hauls, traveling roughly one million miles or more before needing a complete overhaul. As Jerrad put it “This is a new technology and educating yourself with the help of CNG fuel and fuel system vendors plus truck manufacturers is important. A CNG truck is not just an engine with fuel as diesel trucks are. CNG fuel systems have sensors, regulators, pressure relief devices and more.” Further when a truck is ordered a CNG fuel system manufacturer of the buyer’s choice sends the fueling system to the truck manufacturer to be installed.
The decision to go with CNG on B&N Trucking’s next purchase came in 2015 as Prop 1-B funds were becoming available and with CARB regulations eliminating older diesel trucks from the road in 2020 the choice was obvious. “B&N received a voucher for $50,000 dollars for our first truck and $60,000 on our second truck.” Jerrad added, “Believe me we could not have added CNG trucks without the help of Prop 1-B funding.” As this program was designed to replace polluting diesel trucks with cleaner CNG trucks, B&N chose the trucks they had purchased in 2000 to be hauled off by the certified CARB dismantler who also helped with the paperwork.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) continue to explore ways to make a bigger impact on cutting air particulates and encourage transportation companies to eliminate more diesel burning Class 8 trucks. In October 2018 CARB recognized the extra weight of CNG engines was included in the actual gross weight of 80,000 lbs. CNG trucks were therefore operating at a disadvantage as they had to include the weight of the CNG engine (2,000 lbs.) to the gross weight, thus cutting into profit. CARB decided to increase the actual TARE weight, cargo weight, for CNG powered Class 8 trucks by 2,000 lbs., making the gross weight, 82,000 lbs.; thus improving their profitability.
SJAVPCD also realized there were small to medium size trucking companies who had 2009 or older non-compliant diesel trucks in their fleets belching out more NOx but could not afford to participate in the rebate program. SJVAPCD created the 2010 Compliant Truck Trade-Up Program to get even more non-compliant class 4-9 off the road. This allows a transportation company participating in the rebate program to pass their 2010 or later Class 4-8 trucks to a company which takes possession of that truck and passes their 2009 or earlier model to be destroyed by a dismantler never to pollute again.
As new generations of trucks and trucking companies continue to occupy our roads and highways, so too the programs for getting cleaner greener trucks moving will continue to generate more possibilities.
Read more about CNG technology here!