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Geospatial, Temporal and Economic Analysis of Alternative Fuel Infrastructure: The case of freight and U.S. natural gas markets

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The transition to low-carbon fuel in the United States has spatial, temporal and economic aspects. Much of the economic literature on this topic has focused on aspects of the cost effectiveness of competing fuels. We expand this literature by simultaneously considering spatial, temporal and economic aspects in an optimization framework that integrates geographic information system (GIS) tools, network analysis, technology choice pathways and a vehicle demand choice model. We focus on natural gas fuel as a low-carbon alternative to oil-based diesel fuel in the heavy-duty sector primarily because of the recent cost benefits relative to diesel fuel and the high vehicle turnover rate in heavy-duty trucks. We find that the level of profitability of natural gas fueling infrastructure depends more on volume of traffic flows rather than proximity to natural gas supply.

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Energy Specializations: Transportation – Internal combustion engines and diesel engines; Transportation - Natural gas vehicles (NGV) and systems ; Transportation – shipping, rail, aircraft

JEL Codes: Q41: Energy: Demand and Supply; Prices, Q40: Energy: General, Q35: Hydrocarbon Resources, Q38: Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation: Government Policy, L95: Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities

Keywords: Natural gas, Spatial optimization, Alternative fuels, Fuel infrastructure

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.38.6.yfan

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Published in Volume 38, Number 6 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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