Mississippi Materials Corp. is set to add 12 mixing trucks that will operate on compressed natural gas (CNG) to its fleet this month.
The company’s investment in the CNG powered trucks and construction of an on-site fueling station signifies a milestone not only for the company but for the industry as a whole as both commercial and individual use of CNG for transportation has seen little activity in Mississippi.
Because of the substantial infrastructure costs for refueling stations, fleet businesses have hesitated to move away from diesel or gasoline and to CNG. At today’s prices, CNG costs less than diesel on a comparative basis. With known natural gas reserves of supply at historic highs, heavy vehicle fleets may pay for the conversion to hedge against diesel costs. In order for CNG to be more widely used, more refueling infrastructure will be required. As with MMC, expect any fuel conversions to be within companies operating heavy vehicle fleets based out of a common location, as with concrete or waste collection trucks. With lighter vehicles running more intermittently, the economics of conversion or new vehicle premiums are less attractive.
Typically, states seeing more activity in CNG in transportation have offered financial incentives, such as rebates or tax credits, for associated costs.
The Waste Management fleet of Jackson has also announced plans to utilize CNG vehicles for their daily routes in Jackson. That makes two Jackson companies supporters of CNG.