From the Cleveland Plain Dealer on today's Natural Gas Vehicle Summit that was held in Columbus and was sponsored by America's Natural Gas Alliance in cooperation with Gov. John Kasich and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio:
COLUMBUS -- J Rayl Transport, a regional freight hauler headquartered in Akron, is replacing or converting its 200 diesel trucks to compressed natural gas.
"We are looking to buy 75 vehicles. The problem is getting a commitment to when they will be delivered, " Jeremy Rayl, CEO of the family-owned company, told the more than 200 attending the natural gas vehicle summit sponsored by America's Natural Gas Alliance.
The company is negotiating with a number of local trucking dealers, including Young Trucking of Canton, a Freightliner and Volvo dealer who sold several CNG trucks to Smith Dairy of Orrville last summer. Smith is also committed to a full switch from diesel to CNG
Rayl said each new truck will cost about $200,000 and the fueling station the company will have built on its own property another $1.7 million.
But with the cost of diesel at $4 per gallon -- more than twice what Rayl will be paying for natural gas -- the company, expects the investment to pay for itself in about two years.
In an interview on the floor of the conference at the Ohio State University's Student Union, Rayal said his company would immediately replace all of its trucks if they were available.
He said the company has a letter of commitment from First Merit, its long-time banker.
With the shortage of new trucks, JRayl Transport is planning to contract with a South Carolina company that will retrofit the older trucks to burn a combination of natural gas and diesel.
In a noon speech later Gov. John Kasich said the state is eager to the development of Ohio's natural gas reserves to fuel the trucking industry.
"We are on the cusp of this, but we have a ways to go," Kasich said. "We have to bring about the market.
"The state will jumpstart this with our fleets. We will begin to see some conversion," he said.
"But the business leaders will have to show this is something they care about. And as we get natural gas stations, then maybe the auto industry will build more natural gas cars," he said.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.