Taxis, Trucks and Buses fuel demand staggeringly low, Covid-19 and Natural Gas Prices super-low trend

Volkswagen won’t get rid of natural gas vehicles: it will require at least 15 years
March 22, 2020
Using Google Mobility reports to estimate natural gas consumption drops and Biogas around Europe
April 6, 2020

Natural Gas Spot Prices are seen near the all-time lows! The Trucking industry is having an increased demand but also having hard times. We have new insightful data on how the Covid-19 is affecting the taxi, trucking and bus industries.   

It’s the NGV World Podcast with a new season and a new format – Episode 15.

Thanks again for your comments and likes over LinkedIn, please leave me a message telling me what you think on this new format. Get in touch, ask me questions. Before starting I recommend you revisit all previous podcast episodes and season 1 with great interviews with top personalities of the industry.

For the podcast I recommend you to look for it on your Spotify app, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts app to be able to subscribe and get the next episode automatically on your phone while you sleep.

First of all let me tell you that I’ve been talking recently about the idea of the NGV Professionals Board, where I’ve decided to have a hub where companies around the industry would be able to find professionals around the industry that are currently interested in listening job opportunities. It would be a great way to create a community. If you are looking to expand or find new opportunities please go to ricardocarmona.io/jobs and share your LinkedIn profile, and very soon we will get those profiles to be seen by companies of our very specific industry.

It continues to be a challenging week, the Coronavirus infected and death counts are increasing importantly around Europe and also in America. India and Mexico share similar numbers of around 200 infected by the end of this week and we will have some deep insights on how it will be affecting the fuel consumption around natural gas for vehicles as we analyze the overall situation for Taxis, Trucks, and Buses.

News of the Week

1. Volkswagen, long life with natural gas: it will remain at least 15 years

There was apparently a misinterpreted phrase, that for many insiders it seemed that Volkswagen has bid farewell to CNG. 

Last year the Wolfsburg group sold just 110,000 methane cars worldwide, but the reality is very different. The real stoppage will start in six years as Michael Jost, head of Volkswagen’s product strategy, announced in December 2018. “In 2026 production of the latest combustion engine platform will begin”.

So the thermal engine is going to last over ten years. Why? For the disappearance of the combustion engines on the models of the group, it will be necessary to wait at least 2036, but a realistic date – given the average life of the current platforms and engines including updates – could even be 2040. 

But regulations, emissions and technologies will also play an important role in future plans. For now, it is confirmed that by 2020 the TGI natural gas version of the Golf 8 will debut. Of course, there will be a more precise and defined plan in this regard in the coming years.

However, since automakers have to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5% by the end of the decade, pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids will be pushed and supported. For now with slow but steadily growing sales volumes. 

It’s not a quick-ending story but for Volkswagen, it’s the beginning of the end. I’m sure that RNG incipient growth might be the only factor that could increase interest from VW towards NGVs and that’s in the years to come.

https://www.gazzetta.it/motori/la-mia-auto/10-03-2020/volkswagen-addio-metano-non-prima-quindici-anni-3601763006385.shtml

2. Europe’s largest renewable natural gas station for HGVs opens in the UK

Warrington’s CNG Fuels newest station

CNG Fuels has put into operation Europe’s largest RNG Station in Warrington, UK,  the birthplace of Jesse Lingard from Manchester United. It can refuel up to 800 HGVs daily and serve 12 vehicles simultaneously. 

This new facility, along with another one recently opened in Northampton, will be capable of refueling more than 1,000 trucks a day. According to CNG Fuels, the demand for renewable natural gas has soared 800% since 2017 and is set to more than double this year. 

The company plans to add another six to eight refueling points over the next 12 months as it expands its network of biomethane truck stations to meet growing demand. This growth responds to necessary net-zero emissions by 2050 imposed in the UK.

“Our customers ordered hundreds of new biomethane fueled trucks in 2019 and that trend is only set to accelerate over the next decade,” said Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels. 

3. Argentina: IVECO presents locally-produced Tector CNG truck

Iveco continues to bet on national production. Let’s remember that in 2019, the firm presented the first CNG commercial vehicles manufactured in the country. 

Those first units were designed to run on CNG and that the engine has the same useful life, operational elasticity, and performance as a diesel one. Plus, it adds a quieter, more cost-effective and environmentally friendly operation.

In March 2020, Iveco is presenting the CNG Tector, a rigid version and 4×2 configuration with denomination 160E21, FPT Industrial’s Otto’s Cycle NF 6 engine, with 210 HP and 750 Nm of torque. With six 80-liter CNG tanks, it offers an approximate range of 300 km. 

The new Stralis Hi-Road 6×2

Also, they presented the Stralis Hi-Road in its 440S33T 4×2 tractor and 260S33Y 6×2 rigid configurations, FPT Industrial’s Cursor 8 natural gas engine with 330 HP and 1,300 Nm of torque, with a capacity of up to 720 liters. 

A great bet for national production and a great opportunity to access to lower prices for the Natural Gas options in South America

How is Coronavirus affecting fuel demand?

Taxis

We are seeing that taxi rides demand is falling 80% in some cases and estimates. For Uber, the worst-case scenario is to have 80% drop in bookings from March to December. Give a listen.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/19/uber-stock-pops-after-saying-worst-of-coronavirus-fallout-is-behind-it.html

Trucks

Trucking demand is averaging an upward trend 18% last week according to Audio News CNBC. But their facilities are suffering the effects of Covid-19. Give a listen:

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2020/03/19/trucking-demand-increased-18percent-last-week-due-to-coronavirus-demand.html?&qsearchterm=truck

According to NPR, the Port Truckings freights are receiving a big hit. Layoffs are eminent in that realm. Give a listen:

https://www.npr.org/2020/03/17/817021983/coronavirus-wreaks-havoc-on-the-global-shipping-industry

But in other cases, amid the Coronavirus crisis, Truck drivers work nonstop to deliver supplies and that is a good thing for the sector.

https://www.wsbtv.com/news/trending/coronavirus-truck-drivers-work-nonstop-deliver-supplies/2LRLZGX66JHQLNQE6DNDVW6RNE/

It seems like a breath for the fuel industry in that regard.

Buses

With regard to buses, both Chicago Transit Authority and MTS Metropolitan Transit System (San Diego) coincide that ridership is dropping dramatically and they’re soon to reduce routes frequency. In both cities, the fall is reaching 60% fewer users overall.

https://www.kpbs.org/news/2020/mar/19/mts-service-cuts-coronavirus-ridership-plummet/

Gas Price Overview:

(For the week ending Wednesday, March 11, 2020)

Overview

  • Natural gas prices dropped on Friday falling 3.5%, and collapsing a robust 15% for the week. Support is seen near the all-time lows at 1.55. Resistance is seen near the 10-day moving average at 1.77. Short term momentum has reversed and turned negative after turning positive on Thursday as the fast stochastic generated a crossover sell signal in oversold territory. Medium-term momentum remains negative as the MACD (moving average convergence divergence) index recently generated a crossover sell signal. The MACD histogram is printing in the red with a downward sloping trajectory which points to lower prices.

The Prices

  • Natural gas spot prices fell at most locations this report week (Wednesday, March 11, to Wednesday, March 18). The Henry Hub spot price fell from $1.92 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) last Wednesday to $1.65/MMBtu yesterday. THAT’S A 15% DROP
  • At the New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex), the price of the April 2020 contract decreased 27¢, from $1.878/MMBtu last Wednesday to $1.604/MMBtu yesterday, the lowest front-month price since March 2016. The price of the 12-month strip averaging April 2020 through March 2021 futures contracts declined 15¢/MMBtu to $2.083/MMBtu.
  • The net withdrawal from working gas totaled 9 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for the week ending March 13. Working natural gas stocks totaled 2,034 Bcf, which is 76% more than the year-ago level and 16% more than the five-year (2015–19) average for this week.
  • The natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) composite price at Mont Belvieu, Texas, fell by 57¢/MMBtu, averaging $3.12/MMBtu for the week ending March 18. The prices of heavier NGPLs — natural gasoline, butane, and isobutane — fell, by 32%, 20%, and 16%, and lighter NGPLs ethane and propane fell by 11%, and 7%, respectively.
  • According to Baker Hughes, for the week ending Tuesday, March 10, the natural gas rig count decreased by 2 to 107. The number of oil-directed rigs rose by 1 to 683. The total rig count decreased by 1, and it now stands at 792.
  • India Drop from 138.80 to 123.60 Rupees an 11% fall for the Natural gas prices week over week, hitting easily the lowest prices of the year.
  • What looks like encouraging prices for our industry, actually means a missed opportunity because of the expected demand drops in mostly every vehicle category.

Great CNG Content of the Week

Interesting short clip of Scania CNG trucks in Ireland

Take a look at this SCANIA Truck in a recent video post by David Hanahoe

Orange Gas Commercials

Take a look at these couple great commercials from our friends at Orange Gas.

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