U.S. and Canadian natural gas Class 8 truck retail sales declined in the June-to-August period, according to ACT Research’s Natural Gas Quarterly. Year-to-date sales through August continued to lose ground, falling 29% behind last year’s comparable level from a reading of 25% lower for year-to-date May.
The report says that on the buying side, natural gas vehicle (NGV) purchases continue to be dominated by transit bus and refuse truck operators.
“While sales of natural gas-powered units have their own inherent challenges, part of the reason for softness may also be related to factors impacting the broader truck market,” says Steve Tam, ACT’s vice president. “Regardless of the fuel used, heavy trucks are all competing for the same freight, which has failed to increase for at least the last five quarters.
“Coincidentally, many truckers increased their fleet sizes just as freight growth was slowing, setting up the current situation of excess capacity that is keeping the brakes on new truck sales, irrespective of fuel type,” he adds.
The Natural Gas Quarterly provides information on the current and projected status of those factors that impact a decision to adopt natural gas. The report includes a dashboard gauge that looks at fuel price spread, public heavy-duty natural gas fueling infrastructure, natural gas equipment, and actual natural gas heavy-duty truck sales.