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Gerry Clinchy
02-11-2012, 11:32 AM
The Motley Fool is touting a company that makes a fuel injector for natural gas vehicles.

Interesting notes in their "solicitation" about how companies with many diesel vehicles are converting to compressed natural gas vehicles.

Most interesting, I thought, was the fact that the cost between diesel & natural gas vehicles used to be $50,000 and is down to $10,000 now. Ryder (trucking) is expecting to replace all its diesel vehicles & save 1.5 million gallons of diesel each year. Cost of diesel is now around $4/gallon, and CNG is about $2/fuel unit (or whatever they call NG measurement).

UPS also doing the same thing. Have about 50 NG vehicles now, and expect to have another 900 soon.

It said that this innovation for trucking took place without govt subsidy. I'm sure if they're wrong on that, someone of you will dig it out.

Meanwhile, 4 or 5 (more?) states have signed a pact to build the infrastructure in their states for distribution ... I think PA, WY and OK were among those mentioned.

They also mentioned the conversion of garbage trucks to CNG in some city. Evidently stuff going on in LA, NYC, and some place in Indiana.

They touted the positives of this coming conversion: lower emissions, cleaner air, and domestic supply reducing energy dependence on imports.

If, indeed, this was all done without govt subsidy, it's worth noting. When there is capitalistic "reward" of profits and economy, innovation will take place, funded by those who hope to make a profit; at their own risk. And this innovation not only will be helping those who may grow "rich" from this innovation, but also yield some other benefits that will be of great help to consumers of all economic levels: keeping the cost of transported goods lower than otherwise might be the case; benefiting the lowest income tiers who are most dependent on public transportation (now using diesel busses or trains).

If they can do all of this, I'm thinking that they should be able to figure out how to "recycle" the fracking waste-water as well. Using a capitalistic framework, if solving that problem makes operations ultimately more profitable (by avoiding the costs & hassle of govt regulation of same), the economic need will lead to innovation for doing so.

And if they can run vehicles this large on CNG, then heating structures should be easier than it has been in the past?

I do have concern about the safety issue if these vehicles get in accidents.

M&K's Retrievers
02-11-2012, 12:35 PM
I think I read where the DART (public transport) in Dallas was converting to NG. I could have dreamed that. Maybe wishful thinking on my part.

smillerdvm
02-11-2012, 01:00 PM
At one time cabs that ran on Nat gas got to go to the front of the line in Dallas. Don't know if that is still the case. I would certainly hope not, as whenever politicians try to interfere with the free market we all lose

T. Mac
02-11-2012, 01:04 PM
If you guys want to see LNG used you need to come west. I think nearly all of the UPS little brown trucks use NG. Most public transit buses use NG. And many of the other courier and small delivery vehicles use NG. In the urban areas, nearly every house is heated using natural gas along with the use of natural gas water heaters. And until recently most new electric generation plants were also fueled by natural gas. But here, natural gas is considered another evil fossil fuel on par with coal. And with regard to its use in the larger trucks, NG does not have the energy that diesel has, so using it in the large trucks that must traverse our mountainous roads is not a viable option at this time.

T. Mac

road kill
02-11-2012, 04:27 PM
If this is true (not doubting) then the USPS should take note.
One of their biggest operating expenses is fuel.
(I wanted to say biggest operating expense, which I read sometime back, but I couldn't find a link);-)


RK

JDogger
02-11-2012, 06:08 PM
If this is true (not doubting) then the USPS should take note.
One of their biggest operating expenses is fuel.
(I wanted to say biggest operating expense, which I read sometime back, but I couldn't find a link);-)


RK

It seems they have taken note.
http://www.govenergy.com/2007/pdfs/strategy/Rios_Strategy_track_S8.pdf

M&K's Retrievers
02-11-2012, 06:15 PM
If this is true (not doubting) then the USPS should take note.
One of their biggest operating expenses is fuel.
(I wanted to say biggest operating expense, which I read sometime back, but I couldn't find a link);-)


RK

The USPS biggest operating expense has to be salaries and benefits including retirees.

Uncle Bill
02-12-2012, 01:43 PM
The USPS biggest operating expense has to be salaries and benefits including retirees.

That is no doubt true, Mike, followed closely be maintaining and rentals of facilities. Like many government facilities, post offices are usually leased properties with quite long term contracts.

There's a huge concern in rural America, like here in the Dakota's, about all these small towns with POs and quite high salaries for their post masters that the government wants to shut down. But in all sincerity, we've heard that squeeling before when the small town schools, even after consolidating, had to close their doors also.

Always the way it happens, and the caterwalling begins when that effected crowd sees their ox being gored. Even in the 2nd largest "city" in Sodak, we are in for a variety of PO reductions. I'm amazed they haven't stopped Saturday deliveries already. That's bound to come soon. Attrition has claimed our postman. He was retired a little early, and our 'route' is being picked up by several others in a hodgepodge fashion, so we don't really have 'our own postman' for this neighborhood anymore.

Life goes on. Come to think of it, I haven't seen many buggy whips for sale, nor 8 track tapes...or tapes of ANY kind recently. Not very many Blockbusters in business either. Or, radio engineers OR announcers. Even the sales staffs have been reduced to many empty desks. How long will the radio profession even be around?

UB

Had to come back to this post and add a PS. Didn't mean to take the thread completly off topic. We have some NG vehicles operating in the Black Hills, but they are still outnumbered by the propane operated vehicles. Until NG gets 'easier' to use by having more readily available stations to fill at, there won't be much action for that fuel. Yet to be determined, however, is how quickly that might change when the full impact of the higher priced ethanol is realized.

Goose
02-12-2012, 03:06 PM
Just paid $3.44 for regular at Sam's this afternoon. Last time I filled up gas was $3.33. Big jump. From what I've read there's a ton of natural gas available in this country if we just had the infrastructure (and leadership) in place to use it. I would love to own a natural gas propelled vehicle with the option of filling up in my very own garage. How cool would that be.

I wonder what Algore and his leftist enviromental whackos think about using natural gas as an alternative to imported oil? Or do they still prefer to put everybody on a bicycle, a horse, or on foot?

We live in Cuba now.

Gerry Clinchy
02-12-2012, 06:29 PM
Just paid $3.44 for regular at Sam's this afternoon. Last time I filled up gas was $3.33. Big jump. From what I've read there's a ton of natural gas available in this country if we just had the infrastructure (and leadership) in place to use it. I would love to own a natural gas propelled vehicle with the option of filling up in my very own garage. How cool would that be.


Probably you'd have to have a meter, so that you could pay the taxes that are applied to vehicle fuel to pay for roads maintenance.

road kill
02-13-2012, 09:00 AM
The USPS biggest operating expense has to be salaries and benefits including retirees.

In context, "operating expense" was a referral to the day-to-day cost to get the mail delivered.
Hardware, trucks, logitics etc.

You are correct that the reason the USPS is going bankrupt is because of what they are paying in retirement.

So maybe I chose the wrong words.

RK

Buzz
02-13-2012, 09:31 AM
In context, "operating expense" was a referral to the day-to-day cost to get the mail delivered.
Hardware, trucks, logitics etc.

You are correct that the reason the USPS is going bankrupt is because of what they are paying in retirement.

So maybe I chose the wrong words.

RK

Yes, and we know why their pension fund is breaking them. It was a well laid plan by Republicans that would like the postal service gone so that the system goes private and their cronies can profit handsomely from it.

http://huffingtonpostunionofbloggers.org/2011/09/29/gop-behind-the-u-s-postal-service-crisis/


The biggest budget problem facing the USPS is the mandate placed on it by an outgoing Republican Congress in 2006, requiring the Postal Service to pre-fund, over a decade, its employee pensions for 75 years. The USPS is among a handful of employers still offering a defined benefit pension plan that provides security to retirees after a lifetime of work. The pre-funding requirement was and remains a poison pill for the postal service. No other pension plan, either public or private, is required to pre-fund for 75 years into the future. Without this burden, the USPS would be in the black today. The cost of pre-funding has exceeded $20 billion over the past 4 years – an amount that roughly equals USPS losses for that period.




Well played...

It is true that not many employees offer defined plans any longer. One of the reasons it was easy for me to leave Siemens was that they ended their defined benefit plan and replaced it with a savings plan. Running the numbers, it was clear that us employees were taking a huge hit. The reason for ending the plan? They were removing a big future liability for the company in order to help their stock price. Yup, they actually came straight out and said it...

road kill
02-13-2012, 09:35 AM
Yes, and we know why their pension fund is breaking them. It was a well laid plan by Republicans that would like the postal service gone so that the system goes private and their cronies can profit handsomely from it.

http://huffingtonpostunionofbloggers.org/2011/09/29/gop-behind-the-u-s-postal-service-crisis/




Well played...
OK Buzz, nice cheap shot, blame someone else.
I'm shocked......:rolleyes:

My post had nothing to do with blame, simply an observation that NG may be a savings for postal carriers vehicles.
Is that premise incorrect??

There is a problem there, blame all you want, I offered a solution, or a small part of one.

GEEZZ!!!

RK

Buzz
02-13-2012, 09:38 AM
I didn't bring the pension plan into it. Someone else did! ;-)

I happen to be a big fan of the idea of running vehicles on NG.

I am also a big fan of converting appropriate vehicles over to electric. Route type vehicles are prime candidates, and at 10 cents per kW-HR, it's a lot cheaper than gasoline...

road kill
02-13-2012, 09:44 AM
I didn't bring the pension plan into it. Someone else did! ;-)

I happen to be a big fan of the idea of running vehicles on NG.

I am also a big fan of converting appropriate vehicles over to electric. Route type vehicles are prime candidates, and at 10 cents per kW-HR, it's a lot cheaper than gasoline...
Buzz,
In the industry I am in now there are some amazing uses of technolgy.

One plant in particular uses electric carts that run on GPS systems.
They pull up to a unit (machine & staff) they get loaded and literally drive up to 1.5 miles to deliver the pay load.
These "robots" run these routes at least 4 times a day, sometimes more.
So the total distance is approx: 15 + miles, with many turns and curves in the routes.

Obviously, there is no fossil fuel alternative here.
But is awesome to see.

I just don't want an electric F-150!!


RK

cpj
02-13-2012, 06:53 PM
A friend of mine who has nat gas experience told me a while back that home gas lines don't have enough pressure to fuel vehicles. He also said that at today's prices nat gas in your car would equal about 60 cents per gallon.

Gerry Clinchy
02-13-2012, 07:11 PM
A friend of mine who has nat gas experience told me a while back that home gas lines don't have enough pressure to fuel vehicles. He also said that at today's prices nat gas in your car would equal about 60 cents per gallon.

Yes, seems right since they are talking compressed natural gas. Still like the idea of 60 cents/gallon :-)

charly_t
02-13-2012, 07:14 PM
Seems like we will still need "filling stations" and by the time the people selling to NG to us get done with it we may be looking at a lot more than 60 cents per gal.

Gerry Clinchy
02-13-2012, 07:15 PM
They were removing a big future liability for the company in order to help their stock price. Yup, they actually came straight out and said it...

Is that necessarily a bad thing ... to plan for removing future liabilities that you may not be able to meet?

Jason Glavich
02-14-2012, 08:00 AM
Seems like we will still need "filling stations" and by the time the people selling to NG to us get done with it we may be looking at a lot more than 60 cents per gal.

There used to be 2 stations around us here in Northern VA, now there are none. When I was in Cali the USMC had a few Natural gas vans that we would use to go to San Diego, it was a cool vehicle till you could not find anywhere to fill up. It also took quite awhile to get used to getting the nozzle correct to have it fill properly.

DoubleHaul
02-14-2012, 09:03 AM
We are working on a deal with some local animal processing facilities to take their waste, use it to make methane, compress it and use CNG to fuel their fleets. It works best for vehicles that drive set routes and are coming by the same place all the time to fill up so you don't have to worry about finding places to fill up.

On first blush, the economics are attractive. Gasoline is currently running about $30 per MMBtu and diesel is about $28 per MMBtu. Our CNG would cost about $ 4 per MMBtu (higher than NG these days but also take care of waste streams they are paying to get rid of).

Unfortunately, it is very expensive to convert an existing vehicle to run on CNG and even more expensive to buy a new one--about $80k to convert, so the payback isn't instantaneous. It is still pretty attractive for the processors, though.

Gerry Clinchy
02-14-2012, 10:47 AM
I think that the conversion of commercial vehicles first is a good sign. If every diesel semi on the road were CNG, that would free up a lot of oil for the gasoline of personal vehicles. That, alone, should have an impact. Other vehicles will follow gradually as technology makes it viable. Remember, that the difference between diesel & CNG vehicles used to be $50,000, and now has been reduced to $10,000. That is an amount that made the conversion viable. I would expect that gradual advances in technology will improve the picture for smaller personal vehicles?

The states that have committed to building the infrastructure for fueling, will take some time to do so, but now there is a real reason to do so due to the commercial vehicles dedicated to using this fuel. I think it needed a commercial "return on investment" scenario to stimulate the conversion.

This could be a very good example of how a market need can lead to investment in innovation. To make the whole thing function in the real world, it was not acceptable to have a pricepoint difference of $50,000 per vehicle, but the vision of "profit" spurred the innovation that reduced the price to a "real world" option.

If solar power is to become a viable energy source on large scale, it will not be because of the govt choosing whom to "support" (Solyndra) ... but, rather, because some new innovation will come up with a design that will have a market that can yield a profit.

In every socialist or communist country it has been proven multiples times that more is produced when the worker/farmer gets to "profit" from the fruits of their labors. It is human nature, I think, for one to want to feed their children and provide themselves with a roof over their heads, and even help their elderly family members.

When the fruits of their labors are usurped by the govt and given to someone else, what use is there in working hard? It then makes more sense for them to let someone else work hard & let the govt give them the fruits of the others' labors.

So, those "evil" entrepreneurs have come up with something to generate profit for themselves, that will make them "rich" (or richer?), millions will benefit ... and the govt will tell the innovators that they are not entitled to be rich when there are still some people in poverty; even though even the people living in poverty will be living better than they otherwise might have.

ARay11
02-14-2012, 10:47 AM
If you order your new truck from Ford "NatGas Ready", it is generally no more expensive than a regular truck (maybe $800 more?)... then you send your NatGas Ready truck to an upfitter for the tanks, etc... at a cost of about $2500-$4500 depending on what you want (and then send your invoice for the upfit to Ford..they reimburse you up to $1500 or whatever the rebate that month is)

Gerry Clinchy
02-14-2012, 01:23 PM
Sounds like Ford is staying ahead of the curve in their thinking. And if I were Ford, I'd also be invested in some companies that produce the CNG :-)

HPL
02-14-2012, 02:13 PM
If you order your new truck from Ford "NatGas Ready", it is generally no more expensive than a regular truck (maybe $800 more?)... then you send your NatGas Ready truck to an upfitter for the tanks, etc... at a cost of about $2500-$4500 depending on what you want (and then send your invoice for the upfit to Ford..they reimburse you up to $1500 or whatever the rebate that month is)
How much space do the tanks occupy? What is the range once set-up. How does altitude affect the functionality of the conversion?

ARay11
02-14-2012, 02:33 PM
www.cngoklahoma.com (http://www.cngoklahoma.com)
this is the web site of an upfitter.
looks like range is up to 800 miles. not sure about tank size yet ... will have more info this afternoon from Ford rep and upfitter.

Buzz
02-14-2012, 09:38 PM
Is that necessarily a bad thing ... to plan for removing future liabilities that you may not be able to meet?

I didn't say they couldn't meet them and neither did they. They specifically said that they were reducing their long term liabilities in order to increase their stock price. They tried to tell us that everyone would benefit. Like I said, it made it much easier for me to leave.