“It’s a commodity-based product, and the underlying price of that commodity has increased since this time last year, but this time last year gas prices were at a record low,” he told Transport Operator.
“The gas as road fuel market is growing, and as volumes increase those operators running the biggest gas fleets can hedge their prices. The underlying commodity price has increased, although it is now coming down again to half what it was at its peak two months ago, but there are other costs relating to the delivery of the product, and these have remained the same throughout, which gives some stability.
“It’s important to remember that an investment in a gas fleet and the refuelling structure to support it is an investment for the life of the vehicle. A temporary blip in the price of the fuel will have only a small impact on the overall economics of the fuel. The price of diesel has also increased.”
Mr Westcott expressed disappointment that a recent report on the environmental credentials of gas as a road fuel by respected researchers Emissions Analytics condemned the fuel as being less environmentally-friendly than diesel and a ‘dead end’ in the transition to carbon neutrality.
“It was a study involving only two vehicles,” he pointed out. “It found, as other studies have, that gas is not the best fuel for use in urban distribution. But we sell gas as an alternative to diesel for long-haul work, and its environmental benefits have been well documented in this application by other studies.
“It is the best currently-available alternative to diesel for long-haul. The three man-ufacturers currently offering gas trucks in the UK market support this: the gas trucks sold here by Iveco, Scania and Volvo are predominantly tractor units.”
He confirmed that Gasrec was keeping a close eye on future trends in fuel.
“One thing we can be sure of is that the future of road transport will not be one fuel for every application,” he asserted.
“We are quite prepared to introduce hydrogen fuelling facilities on our sites if the demand appears, and also where our sites overlap with vehicles on light or short-haul duties, we will look at installing electric charging facilities: but this will be in urban areas.”