In August 2018 Leicestershire-based, family-owned business Cobley Transport began using gas vehicles on their haulage fleet.
No different to diesel
The location of their depot means Cobley frequently pass Gasrec’s flagship DIRFT facility and therefore do not have to make a detour to refuel. In addition, the location of Gasrec’s site at M1 Junction 18 means the driver can refuel and immediately access the motorway.
Secondly, their 4x2 LNG Iveco can achieve a range of upward of 1,600kms meaning the truck saves the operation valuable refuelling time.
By effectively doing, in some cases, three days work on one fill, they can reduce the time the driver spends refuelling. With such range it also means they can go north from their depot in Leicestershire without having to travel south to DIRFT to refuel.
Thirdly, as DIRFT is manned by an operator 24/7, there is no need for Cobley to train its drivers in gas refuelling.
Impact on drivers
Cobley’s drivers have had little cause to notice the difference between diesel and gas. Refuelling is carried out by Gasrec’s operators and takes almost identical duration to diesel. In addition, gas is odourless, cleaner than diesel, and emits markedly less harmful pollution which diesel drivers are exposed to.
New gas vehicles tend to come at a premium compared to new diesel trucks. However, the additional expenditure is offset by the fuel cost savings, with gas costing around 50% of the price of diesel and duty on gas fixed at 50% of diesel duty (until 2032).
An operation with an average mileage of 150,000km and average MPG of 9 can expect to save at least £15,000 per year in fuel costs. Allowing for £30,000 additional CAPEX and fuel cost savings of £15,000 per year, vehicle will have save the business £60,000 by year 6.
The payback period of the extra investment under the above conditions was two years. The return on investment, assuming a six-year truck lifetime, is 200%.
For a relatively small business operating in the highly competitive transport/logistics sector, using an alternative fuel is an opportunity to significantly reduce their cost base.
Stronger tendering position
Using an environmentally-friendly fuel gives Cobley a competitive advantage when tendering for contracts. In a business environment which demands that companies make efforts to reduce their environmental impacts, Cobley are able to enhance their bid for contracts and outcompete larger hauliers.