OREANDA-NEWS.  Diesel trucks will not be able to compete with natural gas-fueled trucks in coastal southern California under that state's implementation of the Clean Air Act, a trade association official said yesterday.

The effort to reduce particulate matter and ozone will require 900,000 trucks in California with low NOx emissions, according to Matthew Godlewski, president of NGVAmerica.

The group's members sell natural gas, operate fleets and manufacture natural gas vehicles and equipment. Godlewski spoke to about 60 people at the Natural Gas Roundtable in Washington.

Attainment of Clean Air Act standards in the South Coast Air Quality Management District in particular opens the door for natural gas vehicles, he said. The district covers Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The California Air Resources Board holds a public hearing on the state's implementation plan in Sacramento on 22 September.

Godlewski conceded that the narrowed spread between prices for liquid fuels and natural gas keeps some potential customers on the sidelines in the US. An 8:1 cost ratio of diesel to natural gas has shrunk to 3:1. Argus data show a handful of days in the past two years when New York harbor prompt month diesel delivered FOB by barge cost eight times more than delivered natural gas. The average ratio since mid-2014 has been 4.5:1 on a Btu-converted basis.

Despite the narrower spread, recent investments will keep natural gas use flat among school buses, transit agencies and waste haulers. Vehicular natural gas is compressed in special fuel tanks for use on these vehicles.