So, as you may have heard through the grapevine, I have recently had the privilege of taking delivery of a new truck. Not just any new truck though; this is the latest and greatest in sustainable fuel technology! I am talking of course, about a new compressed natural gas (CNG) powered Freightliner Cascadia! Years of research and real world use have earned CNG a stable position in many areas of the transportation industry. More likely than not, your local waste refuse, mass transit systems, and municipal vehicles are powered by natural gas. Recently, many large local and LTL fleets are noticing the benefits of this new technology and have been adding numerous units to reap the rewards. A trip has even been made in a setup similar to mine from L.A. to D.C on CNG as well, which was covered in a Youtube video found here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VDmIGpYbYc
With the introduction of the Cummins ISX12-G 12-liter natural gas engine, it is now even more of a viable option for truckload hauling without a drastic compromise on performance. The new Cascadia day cab I am now driving has this Cummins 12-liter powertrain mated to an Allison 6-speed automatic transmission. Being that I have been in an automated Detroit DT-12 equipped Cascadia nearly a year, I was already open to the idea of having a truck do the shifting for me. You can only imagine the left leg fatigue it saves me when sitting in Southern California traffic day in and day out! It was when reading the spec sheet prior to taking delivery that I saw "6-speed" and started to contemplate how six gears would do in an automatic under some of my near-80,000 lb. loads? More to come on that in the near future of my blogs here, as it is already blowing me away after only a couple weeks of normal driving!
My hope is that this new Freightliner will aid me in dispelling some of the myths behind the use of natural gas for owner-operators, as quite a few of them do exist in mainstream conversation. I get different reactions thus far from people I have encountered and love to hear what they have to say. It helps me aim my goals in wanting to prove to people following my blog that this type of truck can work for your average owner-operator and not just a large fleet. Natural gas has had an exponential growth in California in recent years, not only in infrastructure, but also in the actual number of trucks put on the road by various fleets. Being that it is a domestically sustainable fuel that is clean burning gives me another sense of pride in my work, not only for less dependence on foreign oil and job creation here in the United States, but also for the cleaner tomorrow I am helping to leave behind for my two daughters when I am done and gone! Feel free to post up your myths, questions and concerns related to natural gas use for me to add to my list, or click on my email link and send them to me that way as well. I may not be able to prove them all wrong, but I am always up for a good challenge! Stay tuned for more on my adventures in CNG!