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Mar 22, 2017

POLLUTION & LNG TRUCKS * USA: Truckers skeptical about

* California - How local ports reduced pollution but lost trust among truck drivers along the way

--- Richard Newell is a used truck dealer in Fontana who has a couple of trucks in the Perris sale. But one of them won’t be sold this day because he can’t get it to start – a requirement of the auction house. The truck is powered by liquefied natural gas, or LNG... For Newell, dealing with these trucks has been “probably the worst experience I’ve ever had with a truck in my life.” They don’t start. They run of out fuel. They have sensor problems. Gas tank problems. He’s in the business of selling used trucks, and he can’t sell these trucks, except at auctions for rock bottom prices... Worse, the LNG trucks were barely powerful enough to haul loaded containers from the ports – which is the exact job they were supposed to do. Johring said he got calls from miserable drivers, complaining that the truck slowed to 25 mph at the slightest grade, even when other trucks were going 55 mph... They ended up at the auction in Perris, with so many other unwanted LNGs. In fact, LNGs now move 70 percent less cargo at the ports than they did in 2012... On the day KPCC visited the auction in December, two LNGs sold for $19,000 each – just 12 percent of what they were worth five years ago. And four of the seven on offer never made it to the auction block, either because they wouldn't start or because of other problems... Now, he buys them used from unhappy people at rock bottom prices -- $10,000 or less. He said he only uses them to haul empty containers over short distances... But as of right now, there is no engine on the market that both meets the new standard and is powerful enough to haul loaded containers from the ports. That makes truckers like Fred Johring skeptical... 
(Photo by MAYA SUGARMAN/KPCC - Peterbilt 384 liquefied natural gas trucks are in line to be auctioned off at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers in Perris, Calif. on Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. Nine years ago, the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports began paying truck drivers to scrap their old, polluting rigs and replace them with cleaner ones like this model) --  Fontana, CAL, USA - SCPR.org, by Emily Guerin - March 13 2017

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