On a recent early morning in Yutian, a polluted town bisected by the highway that links Beijing to the sea, Su Meiquan walked into a dealership loaded with hulking trucks and prepared to drive away with a brand new rig.
After some time of driving a diesel truck for a trucking company, he had chosen to purchase his own vehicle– a bright red rig fueled with melted gas, capable of carrying as much as 40 tonnes of packs like steel or slabs of marble.
Su hopes the LNG truck – less contaminating and more affordable to operate than diesel ones – will be the cornerstone of his own business, plying the path to the western fringes of country.
“Everyone states gas is cleaner with almost no emissions,” he said after signing a stack of documentation in the dealer’s workplace. In front of him, pictures of happy drivers posing in front of their own new LNG trucks had been taped to the wall.
Sales of big LNG trucks are anticipated to strike record levels in the country this year as the government steps up an anti-pollution project that consist of curbs on heavy-duty diesel vehicles.
LNG trucks represent about four percent of the over six million heavy vehicles able to transport 40 to 49 tonnes of goods that are presently on China’s roads. The large majority of the 43 billion tonnes of freight carried throughout China in 2016 was by highway.
But demand for LNG trucks is skyrocketing as companies and producers shift to vehicles that operate on the gas that Beijing views as a crucial part of its war against smog.
Purchases of LNG heavy trucks rose 540 percent to almost 39,000 in the first 7 months of the year, according to Cassie Liu, a truck expert with the IHS Markit consultancy.
That was partially fueled by a restriction this year on the usage of diesel trucks to carry coal at northern ports in provinces such as Hebei and Shandong, and in the city of Tianjin.