According to Michael Fraser, AGL Managing Director it is. At the recent International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show (ITTES) in Melbourne, Fraser announced AGL’s plans make compressed natural gas (CNG) the fuel of choice across the transport industry by rolling out a chain of public CNG fuel stations on the east coast of Australia, starting in Melbourne this year.
The AGL website outlines a range of benefits of CNG. In summary they say, ‘AGL Smart CNG is a cleaner burning, lower carbon fuel than most conventional fuels, making it an attractive option for companies with fleets that must meet certain environmental targets.
Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) offers a smart choice for Australian businesses and fleet operators who want to:
- Reduce refuelling costs.
- Improve operational efficiency.
- Secure a cleaner, proven alternative fuel supply.
Beyond the environmental benefits and advantages to transport companies, supporters also believe that Australian produced CNG can increase fuel security for the country’s vital transport sector.
A more resilient economy
The transport industry is the second most energy-intensive sector in Australia and in a country this size, it’s heavily relied upon to keep things moving. Today the industry is almost entirely powered by foreign fuel, so it’s easy to understand that fuel security is one of the main attractions of Australian produced CNG.
“Diversifying our fuel mix and building an alternative fuels industry locally, is part of the solution to developing a more resilient economy,” says Fraser.
Will more transport companies look to CNG?
AGL believes their CNG plans will provide the transport industry with a viable and competitive fuel alternative. So does Mike Carmody, CEO of Gas Energy Australia who says “A lack of infrastructure is the main barrier to the uptake of CNG in Australia, so it’s very encouraging to see forward thinking in this space.”
Although Shell has shelved its gas network plans, AGL is optimistic about the new Smart CNG program. With a number of commercial vehicles already purpose-built for CNG and testing for heavy vehicles underway in Australia, the company is confident that CNG can be a long-term, viable and widely available fuel in Australia as it is in Europe and the USA.
No more fluctuating fuel costs
The new AGL Smart CNG rollout could mean that fleet operators could at last have predictable fuel costs. And because natural gas is delivered by pipelines, that fuel supply can installed right to their base. AGL is offering to tailor a range of solutions for fleet operators including price lock-ins of up to five years at public refuelling sites and up to ten years for onsite CNG installations.
Although it could be a little while until a CNG powered prime mover is pulling a Drake Trailer, innovation is at the core of the Drake Trailers philosophy so we’ll be keeping a close eye on the testing of heavy vehicles powered by CNG and watching on with interest as the CNG network rolls out.