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emissions solutions

CNG semis offer another option to lower emissions

2 min read | august 28, 2023

Mashburn’s new trucks, powered by compressed natural gas, will help lower carbon intensity in the San Joaquin Valley, California.

Twelve new CNG-powered trucks will serve Chevron operations in San Joaquin Valley, California, carrying salt used to process water for steam generation.

The new vehicles are owned and operated by Mashburn Transportation. This family- and woman-owned company has provided hauling services for Chevron for at least a decade.

“These are just our first 12 units. We’re definitely testing them, but if all things go well and our estimates are pretty accurate, then we’ll probably continue to transition the rest of the fleet over.”

dwight mashburn

general manager, Mashburn Transportation

why CNG?

CNG releases fewer carbon emissions than standard gasoline or diesel. It can be made from renewable natural gas (RNG), which can provide more benefits by helping to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels.

Why not go with electric or hydrogen trucks? The simple answer is CNG was the lower carbon alternative most capable of meeting Mashburn’s needs.

The company needed trucks that could travel between 350 and 550 miles a day. Mashburn is also paid by weight for some of its cargo. Extra weight on a truck can limit the amount of product it can carry and still stay within road weight limits.

Electric trucks can weigh as much as 10,000 pounds more than CNG trucks because of their batteries. They can outweigh standard diesel trucks by up to 12,000 pounds. Electric trucks also can only travel about 250-300 miles per day, said Mashburn.

Hydrogen trucks weren’t feasible for Mashburn because the production and infrastructure for hydrogen is not yet at the level the company needs.

CNG trucks are lighter than electric trucks—about 2,000 pounds heavier than standard diesel trucks—and they can travel up to 500 miles per day.

the facts

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New CNG-powered engines were built by Cummins, Inc. They also provided training for Mashburn’s in-house mechanics so the company can continue to service their own vehicles.
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CNG trucks can cost almost $60,000 more, but Mashburn expects to make that up in fuel and maintenance cost savings.
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Selecting the right gearing for the job is an important step in the setup of a natural gas truck. These trucks were geared to meet Mashburn’s performance needs.

in the works

Chevron acquired Beyond6 and its nationwide network of CNG fuel stations. We have work underway to grow our network of CNG stations in California. Mashburn’s new CNG trucks will fuel up at one of Chevron’s CNG stations.

“We’re investing in lower carbon businesses including renewable natural gas and compressed natural gas. And we’re working with companies like Mashburn to transition from diesel fuel to lower carbon alternatives like CNG,” said Adam Richey, a Chevron business development specialist.

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