3 Considerations for the Future of Heavy-Duty Truck Fueling

Photograph courtesy of Source North America

Emission-reducing diesel alternatives for heavy-duty trucks (HDTs) are projected to expand significantly by 2030. But which alternative energy sources—biodiesel, renewable diesel, battery-powered electric vehicle (EV) or hydrogen-powered EV—will dominate the growth isn’t yet clear. As convenience-store retailers plan their future fuels, here are three factors that will influence the next generation of HDT fueling.

Biofuel UST Compatibility 

Preparing a fueling system for long-term compatibility with biofuels, including biodiesel and renewable diesel, takes planning and expertise. Source North America guides c-store retailers through compatibility considerations not only as they relate to compliance obligations, but also with regard to UST equipment longevity. Contact Source North America today for assistance preparing fuel systems for future fuels. 

1. Heavy-duty hauling capabilities and operational efficiency will drive fleet adoption.

The future powertrains that fleets adopt will be influenced by the capabilities of the powertrain’s energy source to meet that fleet’s hauling distance and load capacity requirements in an efficient and economical matter. Almost 70% of freight is moved less than 250 miles in the United States, and with that in mind, it’s possible that the application criteria will influence a market where consistent demand begins to emerge for a couple of diesel alternatives, some capable of shorter ranges (such as battery-powered EVs) and others longer ranges (such as hydrogen-powered EVs).

Energy sources that promote less maintenance will be a financial perk to fleets. With fewer components and fluids to replace, an EV drivetrain is much simpler than a conventional drivetrain. The time required to refuel or recharge also will be a factor. For some fleets, overnight fueling may be completely practical, while others will require mid-route refueling.

2. Energy sources and infrastructure incentivized by government programs have a track record of adoption and expansion.

Renewable diesel is currently most widely used in California, where the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) makes it economically attractive. Oregon has adopted an LCFS program, and it is reported that Washington, New Mexico, Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, Minneapolis and New York are also pursuing LCFS programs. Exactly what these programs incentivize will be an indicator of which fuels could be the market leaders.

3. Take note of what major transportation and fueling companies are investing in.

TravelCenters of America announced the formation of a new business unit committed to expanding “a broad range of potential offerings in alternative energy” and reducing “range anxiety.” Nikola Motor Co., a designer and manufacturer of battery-electric and hydrogen-electric vehicles, announced plans in 2019 to build 700 truck stop-size hydrogen fuel stations in the United States and Canada by 2028. TravelCenters of America and Nikola are currently collaborating to install hydrogen fueling stations for HDTs at two sites in California.

In addition, Phillips 66 recently made upstream supply chain investments to secure a reliable source of feedstocks for refining renewable diesel. Love’s truck stop chain made a similar move, entering into a joint venture with Cargill to construct a new renewable diesel production plant.

Source North America regularly includes information about industry trends, challenges and outlooks in its newsletter, SourceLine. Sign up here to receive the newsletter.

This post is sponsored by Source North America


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