Road Tests Show LNG Trucks Producing Higher NOx Than Diesel, with Little or No GHG Benefit
Trucks fuelled with liquefied natural gas (LNG) produce twice to five times the oxides of nitrogen as the equivalent running on diesel, and only cut tailpipe greenhouse gas emission by 3.0 to 14%, Brussels-based Transport & Environment reports, citing road tests commissioned by the government of The Netherlands.
“The results fly in the face of truck-makers’ claims that gas trucks cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by more than 30%,” Transport & Environment stated in a release last month. The organization urged EU governments to “stop encouraging the uptake of polluting LNG trucks by ending the extremely low tax rates that fossil gas for transport enjoys in most countries.”
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“Gas trucks are not clean, and can actually be worse than diesel,” said Clean Trucks Manager Stef Cornelis. “It’s time for policy-makers to have a fresh look at the evidence and put an end to gas truck subsidies, LNG infrastructure investments, and tax breaks for what is just another polluting fossil fuel.”
The road tests, which covered three different LNG vehicle models, found little improvement in emissions of particulates that “can penetrate deep into the lungs and be absorbed into the blood, causing heart disease, strokes, and lung cancer,” T&E stated. “These findings are in sharp contrast to truck-makers’ advertisements claiming that with LNG trucks, particle emissions are almost completely eliminated.”
As for greenhouse gas emissions, the spark-ignition trucks produced by Scania and Iveco only produced reductions in the 3.0 to 5.0% range, while Volvo’s high-pressure direct injection model delivered a 14% reduction. “When the extraction and transportation of the gas, including methane leakage, is factored in, spark ignition LNG trucks are worse for the climate than diesels, while HPDI gas trucks are only delivering a small benefit,” T&E reported.
Yet EU governments are still supporting LNG trucks with tax breaks, road toll exemptions, and subsidies, without which “there would be no market for gas in transport,” the organization stated.
“The gas industry is desperate to convince policy-makers that gas trucks have a climate benefit because they want to grow their market,” Cornelis concluded. “The simple fact is that it’s a fossil fuel just like oil and coal, so it needs to be phased out.”