Shell transitioning Houston truck fleet from diesel to LNG

The Shell logo sits on the side of a fuel tanker truck during a gasoline delivery at a gas station operated by Royal Dutch Shell Plc in Utrecht, Netherlands, on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016. Shell is on the brink of completing its biggest acquisition as shareholders look set to back its purchase of BG Group Plc. Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg
(Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg)

Royal Dutch Shell is switching its trucking fleet to more liquefied natural gas-fueled vehicles in Houston and Louisiana as more companies increasingly move away from dirtier diesel fuel.

The use of LNG and compressed natural gas — another new CNG fueling station opened Thursday in Houston — in commercial vehicles has rapidly expanded because of the nation’s cheap and bountiful supply of natural gas.

Shell said Thursday it partnered with Miami-based Ryder transportation company for 15 new, heavy-duty LNG trucks to support its oil and gas logistics operations in Houston and Lafayette, Louisiana. The 15 new trucks will replace diesel-fueled Shell vehicles. Shell will provide the LNG fuel.

“LNG can be a good choice for truck owners and more are making the switch to LNG,” said Dan Flynn, Shell vice president for logistics, in a prepared statement, adding that Shell’s LNG is a cleaner fuel  that meets emissions regulations without the need for treatment systems used in diesel engines.

As an alternative to LNG vehicles, the 15th CNG fueling station in Houston opened Thursday. The new filling station at Pinto Business Park on Fallbrook Drive just west of Interstate 45 in North Houston is the third station in Houston opened by Freedom CNG.

The new CNG station will fuel the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County’s new fleet of 50 CNG-fueled, public transportation buses.

“When it comes to encouraging the adoption of compressed natural gas for local fleet vehicles, we’ve barely scratched the surface,” said Bill Winters, the managing member of Freedom CNG, in the announcement. “There’s a strong argument to be made for compressed natural gas both from an environmental and economic point of view.”

Texas ranks third in the nation with 79 public compressed natural gas fueling stations, trailing only California and Oklahoma, according to Freedom CNG, citing U.S. Department of Energy data.