For the second day in a row, shares of renewable, compressed, and liquefied natural gas supplier Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE) rushed out of the gate Thursday, scoring a 20% gain early in the day before retreating to a (still respectable) 4.8% gain as of 11:20 a.m. EDT.
To recap, late on Tuesday Clean Energy announced a partnership with Chevron, whereby Chevron will produce clean, "renewable natural gas," or RNG, for use as an automotive fuel and Clean Energy would distribute and sell it to truckers driving out of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
And -- this is key -- to get the whole ball rolling, Clean Energy somehow convinced Chevron to subsidize truckers' purchase of RNG-powered trucks in order to create this new market in the first place.
Why is this important? To date, Clean Energy has struggled somewhat to grow its business. Five years ago, Clean Energy was selling about $384 million a year in natural gas. Last year, it sold $344 million.
Now, this isn't quite as bad as it sounds. With lowered costs of goods sold and reduced selling, general, and administrative expenses draining away its profits, Clean Energy actually earned a profit last year despite the diminished sales -- its first annual profit in about 15 years, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Still, in a market like this one, where investors prize revenue growth above all else, and see profitability as a secondary consideration, what Clean Energy really needs to do to get its stock price growing is show that it can also grow its business.
Chevron's partnership -- and Chevron's financial subsidization of truckers buying RNG trucks -- could be just the thing to help Clean Energy do that. And this, in a nutshell, is why Clean Energy stock is on the move again today.