Governor Corbett has made it clear he’s going to push governments to convert to natural gas-powered vehicles over the next few years. Speaking to Philadelphia’s WPHT-AM last week, Corbett pointed out declining natural gas prices have led to a slow-down in drilling at Pennsylvania sites. He said the state government can play a role in bringing the price back up, telling host Dom Giordano, “One of the areas where we’re looking now, is how do we help people increase the demand?”
In addition to building more pipelines to transport the gas, Corbett said he wants the state to “start converting the fleets of cars…to natural gas vehicles. …So that [drillers] have a market so they can go to Detroit to get Detroit to start building the vehicles.”
If Corbett is successful, you’ll start seeing more trucks like the one profiled by the Allentown Morning Call this weekend: a garbage truck at Muhlenberg College that’s powered by natural gas.
Despite the higher upfront cost of a natural gas garbage truck — about $300,000 compared with $250,000 for a diesel garbage truck — the vehicles are less costly in the long run due to the lower fuel cost. With their constant stopping and going and heavy loads, garbage trucks burn a lot of fuel.
At today’s prices, fueling a natural gas truck costs about half as much as fueling a diesel truck.
The company’s change of its fleet highlights one way that abundant natural gas deposits tapped from Marcellus Shale formations in Pennsylvania and other states are changing fuel preferences among businesses.