Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Natural gas gaining tractor traction

| May 20, 2011

It’s always interesting to view our industry from the outside. In this case, it’s the progress of natural-gas trucks. Jeffrey Ball’s “Natural-Gas Trucks Face Long Haul,” for the May 17 Wall Street Journal, was brought to my attention by my colleague Lucinda Coulter.

The article’s backdrop is legislation, supported by President Obama and about 190 members of Congress, to accelerate subsidies for natural gas vehicles. Among the story’s interesting tidbits:

  • There’s been a rash of natural gas discoveries in the United States, resulting in much lower prices relative to diesel fuel.
  • “Fewer than 1,000 natural-gas 18-wheeler tractors have been sold in the U.S., industry experts say.”
  • UPS has ordered 48 natural gas trucks at $195,000 each, the company says. And to help with that purchase, it got $4 million from the feds.

Read more.



  • Tall Paul

    I wonder if UPS is going to be allowed to take depreciation (up to 90% of purchase price) based on the $9,360,000 outlay for 48 trucks at $195,000 per truck, or only the $5,360.000 net after the federal grant? If so, isn’t that double-dipping? Max??

  • Max Heine

    I would think it would be on only the $5.4 million. If they counted the fed $ for the depreciation, they’d probably have to report the fed $ as income and pay income taxes on it.

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