A trend in Canada that shows natural gas moving from a niche fuel to the mainstream might be an indication of a more prevalent direction for that fuel worldwide.
This article from the Globe and Mail (thanks to @pickensplan on Twitter for the tip!) says environmental benefits, plentiful supplies and low costs are helping improve natural gas’ prospects:
For natural gas to become a major player in powering vehicles, companies and governments need to commit big dollars to infrastructure and technology. In some parts of North America, that commitment is under way.
In Quebec, Robert Transport is among the early adopters in Canada. The large trucking company, based in Boucherville, has a fleet of 750 trucks and plans to buy 80 new rigs with natural gas engines, with the first rigs arriving early next year.
Fuelling stations are a crucial part of the needed infrastructure, and remain a significant challenge. Robert Transport plans to build three for itself along the Montreal-Toronto corridor, in a partnership with Gaz Métro LP.
Natural gas emits fewer greenhouse gases compared with diesel refined from crude oil. Beyond the environmental benefits, the cheaper cost of gas compared with diesel was the big factor in the decision, said Daniel St-Germain, vice-president of asset management at Robert Transport.
“The economic aspect is very important,” Mr. St-Germain said.
The article also points to Beijing Olympics in 2008 and the Port of Los Angeles as great examples of how natural gas is helping places all over the world go green. In addition, some companies are telling investors and analysts that this could be the year that is the tipping point for a favorable natural gas future.