Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Natural gas as a motor fuel gaining ground on gasoline

Natural gas is selling for half the cost of gasoline. Many trucking firms have already made the switch to natural gas as a fuel, while many corporations – breweries, bakeries, cement haulers and refuse truckers - that rely on trucks to make local deliveries have followed suit.

According to the Census Bureau, there are over 100,000 gasoline stations in America. This makes it easy for the 234 million vehicles in the U.S. to fuel up. However, there are only about 1,000 natural gas fueling stations.

(click here for a map of their locations)

While most of these stations are strategically located across major trucking highways, thousands more will be needed to support entire trucking fleets running on natural gas.

Clean Energy Fuels is leading the charge. With help from natural gas-producer Chesapeake Energy, the company plans on building 150 new natural gas fueling stations. Half of these should be open by the end of the year.

Other natural gas producers have begun to open natural gas fueling stations. Integrys Energy and Questar are mid-cap companies that already operate natural gas fueling stations in the U.S. And they're building more.

Most of these companies are trading near their 52-week highs. Business is booming right now. Some states are beginning to provide incentives for companies to build new gas stations supporting the clean fuel.

Once these new fueling stations are built, there's a strong possibility auto manufacturers like GM, Ford, and Toyota will begin making cars that run on the clean fuel. After all, these manufacturers already make vehicles that run on natural gas in other countries.

We are still in the early stages of the natural gas infrastructure trend. In other words, investors can still cash in on this trend by investing in some of the companies building "America's Natural Gas Highway."

Frank Curzio

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