Lost in the shuffle over the last couple of months have been the recent industry developments that could finally make Clean Energy Fuels Corp (NASDAQ:CLNE) a major winner. Due to cheap and abundant supplies of domestic natural gas, Clean Energy embarked on a dramatic plan to build America's Natural Gas Highway. The plan was to develop a network of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations in order to encourage trucking companies to purchase LNG regional haul trucks.
The major catch until now has been the inability of engine producers to provide the types needed for long-haul and even regional trips. That fact is rapidly changing with the recent start of production for the much awaited Cummins Inc. (NYSE:CMI) Westport Innovations Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:WPRT) or CWI joint venture engine that began back in August.
Highway plans Clean Energy famously announced the plans for America's Natural Gas Highway back in 2011 with the official release of the backbone plans in January 2012. The plans called for phase one to include 150 LNG truck fueling stations to be completed by the end of 2013. The goal was to have around 70 completed by the end of 2012 with the plans for the remaining ones to be finished by 2013. Unfortunately during the process the much-needed engine from CWI didn't hit production until recently in August. This scenario placed Clean Energy in a bind with a large portion of the stations completed without any demand.
During the Q2 earnings call, the company provided the following stats on the highway stations:
76 stations completed (no word on the amount open)
24 stations under construction
30 stations in the contracting and proposal process
200 to 300 stations needed in the future
19 stations to be opened due to United Parcel Service, Inc. (NYSE:UPS) plans
Clearly the station amounts were slightly scaled back, but the interesting note is that investors now get to purchase the stock at levels below the hype of the highway network from early 2012 when the stock surged to nearly $25.