Natural gas vehicles catching on

With gasoline and diesel prices soaring, truck fleet operators in B.C. are discovering the benefits of converting to natural gas.

Waste Management's Scott Sadler with one of the company's 20 natural gas-powered trucks.

VICTORIA – With gasoline and diesel prices soaring, truck fleet operators in B.C. are discovering the benefits of converting to natural gas.

Politicians from B.C., Alberta and northwestern U.S. states took a break from their annual economic region meeting Thursday to look at the latest vehicles to switch to natural gas. The vehicles use converted diesel engines, which run on natural gas at half the cost of diesel or gasoline. The particulates of diesel are eliminated along with about a third of the greenhouse gas emissions of conventional fuels.

Among the vehicles on display was a school bus that was driven from Kelowna down to Metro Vancouver on one tank of compressed natural gas. It’s one of 11 converted buses operated by the Central Okanagan school district.

Scott Sadler, B.C. safety manager for Waste Management, says 20 of his company’s Lower Mainland fleet of garbage trucks have been converted, and a fuelling station has been installed by gas company FortisBC in the Waste Management’s Coquitlam yard.

Waste Management is realizing 50 per cent savings, the trucks have similar range to diesel models, and the company looks forward to converting the rest of its 100-truck fleet, Sadler said.

Abbotsford-based Vedder Transport has taken the technology a step further, using liquefied natural gas rather than compressed gas in its fleet of delivery trucks for milk and other food products.

Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom said his ministry is looking at natural gas as a fuel source for BC Ferries, BC transit buses and other uses. The abundance of shale gas being produced in northeast B.C. and elsewhere around North America means the province needs new markets, and he expects natural gas will eventually become a common fuel for all vehicles.

“I believe liquefied natural gas will be the transportation fuel of the future,” Lekstrom said.

Chilliwack MLA Barry Penner has been an advocate of natural gas vehicles for years. He notes that IMW Industries, a Chilliwack firm that builds and exports natural gas compressors and filling stations around the world, has outgrown its plant in only two years and is building a second one.

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell said on his recent trip to China, he visited an IMW-built natural gas filling station, one of about 50 that have opened in the country.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer load onto barge crane

The Dynamic Beast barge crane, known for work with Johnson Street Bridge, makes a return

National Drug Drop-Off month aims to reduce substance abuse by house-bound youth

Expert says there is misconception prescribed medication is safe to take

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary hosts pop-up fundraiser in Sidney

Temporary store to feature unique hand made gifts, collectibles, clothing, books and more

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read