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New Gasrec report urges UK government action on natural gas vehicles

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LNG Industry,

A new Gasrec report, ‘Driving change to low emission transport’, encourages the UK government to consider the environmental and health benefits of natural gas fuelled vehicles. Furthermore, it introduces a number of low cost solutions, which could help promote its use. These include:

  • The adoption of fuel taxation that reflects the environmental impact.
  • Encouraging the further use of clean air zones at British ports.
  • Put the EU weights and dimensions directive into action immediately.
  • Remove restrictions on green technology driving licenses for 3.5 t delivery vehicles.
  • Allow deliveries at night through the use of quieter vehicles.
  • Promote the use of vehicles with low emissions in public tendering.

The report finds that new Euro VI gas powered HGVs can have carbon particulate emissions reduced by up to 96% and NOx emissions by up to 78%.

The report also found that if natural gas powered vehicles replaced just 1% of light and heavy commercial vehicles, buses and coaches, the UK would see a reduction of 64 000 tpy of CO2, as well as significant NOx and SOx reductions.

Rob Wood, the Chief Executive of Gasrec, said: “Time is now running out for the government to tackle this critical issue, as they come under intense pressure from the media and public opinion, health specialists, the European Commission and even their own Supreme Court.

“The economic, commercial and environmental benefits of natural gas as a vehicle fuel are already widely recognised in Europe and around the world – and now it is time for the UK government to take these benefits seriously and properly support the growth of this technology.

“We are already seeing diesel come under the spotlight over emissions cheating and the total inadequacy of existing regulation on testing regimes versus ‘real world’ emissions. But perhaps the most worrying aspect of the ‘diesel fraud’ scandal is the strong probability that the growth of other viable fuels and technologies – natural gas included – may have suffered considerably as a result of the misrepresentation.”

The report also claims that the promotion by the government of electric cars should be encouraged, but only natural gas is a viable emission solution for heavier vehicles, which can also be cheaper than diesel for fleet operators. The report acknowledges that there are fewer heavy vehicles, but claims that they make up a disproportionate amount of emissions.

According to data from the Natural Gas Vehicle Association, there are currently 1.2 million natural gas powered vehicles being used in the EU. The majority of these are either cars or vans, but the figure also includes over approximately 14 500 buses and approximately 6500 trucks.

There are currently 700 gas powered HGVs on the road in UK. There are also a number of gas-fuelled delivery vehicles that are being used in urban areas, as well as fleets of natural gas powered buses in both Sunderland and Reading.

Edited from press release by David Rowlands

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