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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The next welding program being offered at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus will be tuition-free thanks to federal funding. (Thompson Rivers University photo)
So you want to be a welder?

TRU Williams Lake offering tuition-free program

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is an independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C.’s 1st vaccine-induced blood clot case detected in Interior Health

Interior Health also recorded 52 new cases of COVID-19

Williams Lake RCMP are asking the public for assistance locating Marion Louise Billy. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake RCMP seek woman wanted for theft, weapon possession

RCMP released the information Thursday, May 6

Audrey McKinnon was officially named the NDP nominee for the federal riding of Cariboo-Prince George. (Twitter)
Audrey McKinnon confirmed as Cariboo Prince-George federal NDP nominee

The nomination comes during speculation the federal government

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Most Read