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.

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.

Just Posted

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Map of the site of a proposed 60-unit building project in French Creek. (RDN map)
Legal counsel wants board to award development permit for French Creek project

Issue is on agenda for RDN board meeting on June 22

The Arrowsmith Search and Rescue Society has outgrown its home at the Coombs-Hilliers Fire Department and will soon move to its new operations hall at the Qualicum Beach Airport. (PQB News file photo)
Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read