FedEx truck fleets to shift to natural gas from diesel

March 12, 2013. Truck fleets are likely to make a major shift to natural gas fuels and away from diesel over the next decade, with FedEx Corp. a likely adopter, said Frederick W. Smith, chairman and CEO of the shipping company.

   In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Smith said he expects between 5% and 30% of US long-distance trucking to be fueled by compressed or liquefied natural gas over 10 years, as the cost of the trucks declines and fueling stations become more common.

   The company is testing four trucks (two using liquefied gas and two using compressed gas) and if those work well the company will look to moving more of its 90.000 motorized vehicles to the fuel, Smith added.

   Whether the company will make “a big conversion or wait until the economics make sense," he said, will depend in large part on the cost of tractor-trailer trucks. Right now those that use liquefied natural gas remain significantly above those that use diesel, he said, at about $175.000 to $180.000 versus about $105.000 for traditional models.