American Trucking Associations said it will host a first-ever national summit on the growing use of natural gas as a fuel for moving freight across the country.
ATA said the event will be held Nov. 28-30 just outside Washington, D.C., at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Arlington, Va.
Bill Graves, ATA president, called natural gas “a subject of critical importance to trucking. . . . While there has been a great deal of good work done on the subject of natural gas and trucking, I feel that no one has put the whole picture — from suppliers and manufacturers to distributors and users — together, and we intend to do that.”
Federation officials said the agenda is still being finalized but would be released soon. The summit will kick off with an opening reception on Wednesday, Nov. 28, followed by a full day of panels and speakers. On Nov. 30, panels will be held until mid-afternoon, ATA said.
Registration will open for ATA members on July 2, officials said, and for nonmembers four weeks later. The event will cost $199 for ATA members and $499 for nonmembers. Seating is limited.
Natural gas has been gathering increasing momentum as the chief alternative fuel to diesel in recent months, as proponents expand production and distribution around the country. Natural gas prices are now at near-record lows, far below the current level of diesel and other petroleum-based products, as more gas is drilled from shale deposits in the United States.
All North American heavy-duty truck makers are currently offering natural-gas models or have announced that they will soon be doing so.
While the sales level of heavy-duty natural gas trucks is currently tiny, many analysts have predicted that they will become a major factor in the trucking industry.
Natural gas already is a common fuel in municipal bus fleets, and in some regional distribution networks that rely on medium-duty trucks.
Several engine makers say they are now working on larger engines that run on natural gas fuels and are more suitable for over-the-road freight hauling.