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New Report Builds the Case for CNG Programs

A report and new online tool from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) helps fleets considering a CNG program to evaluate cost-effectiveness. The report, Building a Business Case for Compressed Natural Gas in Fleet Applications, helps readers assess the various aspects of a new CNG vehicle and fueling infrastructure project to determine viability.

The publication details an enhanced version of a previous online modeling tool developed by NREL-the Vehicle Infrastructure and Cash-Flow Evaluation (VICE) model-that helps businesses and fleets evaluate the financial soundness of CNG vehicle and CNG fueling infrastructure projects. The tool, VICE 2.0, can help assess projects to acquire vehicles and infrastructure, or to acquire vehicles only.

VICE 2.0 offers users visual and reporting enhancements, including graphic images of return on investment, cumulative cash flow, and payback periods. It also calculates petroleum displacement (annual and cumulative) and annual greenhouse gas reductions, and displays them based on the fleet’s specific attributes. The publication features an overview of VICE 2.0 and the default values for such factors as investment type, tax exemption status for fuel, and operations and incentives for base-case vehicles. In addition, the report addresses profitability and its sensitivity to parameters such as fuel cost and vehicle miles traveled.