Championing Natural Gas Vehicles in Canada

Apr 16, 2013 7:25 AM ET

In recognition of Earth Month 2013 Enbridge celebrates a few of the actions we are taking to track and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. 

With the exception of a small blue diamond sticker signifying they are powered by compressed natural gas, natural gas vehicles look virtually the same as their gasoline and diesel-burning counterparts. But there the similarities end, with the difference in natural gas fuel use adding up to substantial benefits to the environment and the corporate bottom line. Just ask Enbridge Gas Distribution’s Michael Tremayne.

“By operating on natural gas, each vehicle can achieve up to a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. As well, we can cut fuel costs by more than 50 per cent through natural gas vehicles,” says Tremayne, Manager of Natural Gas Vehicle Business Development at Enbridge Gas Distribution (EGD), Canada’s largest natural gas distributor and a strong proponent of natural gas vehicles (NGVs), starting within its operations.

Nearly four decades ago the world’s first NGV was showcased by Consumers Gas, EGD’s predecessor, at Toronto’s Canadian National Exhibition. Over the last 25 years, the company has acquired about 620 natural gas-fueled vehicles – Canada’s largest commercial fleet of NGVs. These include 605 light duty vehicles – such as pick-up trucks and passenger cars – converted to natural gas or bi-fuel, where drivers can switch between natural gas and gasoline.  More recently, Enbridge was one of the first in Ontario to acquire natural gas-powered medium-duty trucks, purchasing 11 in the last two years.  Operating solely on natural gas, the dump trucks provide the same power and performance characteristics as diesel trucks. Today NGVs make up most of the company’s 832-vehicle fleet, which staff rely on to travel between facilities, inspect pipelines or haul materials for construction and maintenance activities.

“Our NGVs operate throughout our franchise area, including Metro Toronto, and are put to work just like any of our other vehicles,” says Arnim Julien, EGD’s Acting Manager of Fleet and Equipment.

So far, the company has invested almost $3.4 million to develop its NGV fleet. This includes the capital cost of about $5,000 per vehicle to adapt light duty vehicles and the extra $40,000 to purchase each factory-built medium-duty truck.

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