The Basics

Natural gas is made up primarily of methane with trace amounts of other gases. It occurs naturally underground and is extracted through gas wells or in conjunction with crude oil production. For storage purposes it can be stored as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid natural gas (LNG).

Natural gas vehicles (NGV) are the most advanced alternative fuel technology available commercially. Both light and heavy-duty vehicles can use CNG. According to the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, more than 20% of new transit bus orders are for natural gas buses. Some vehicles come already equipped to run either entirely on CNG (dedicated) or on both CNG and gasoline or diesel (bi-fuel). Additionally, many vehicles can be converted to run on CNG. All U.S.-based, full-sized transit bus manufacturers offer CNG buses. Applications include transit and school buses, refuse trucks, light-duty vehicles, vans, passenger cars and taxis. LNG is not suitable for light-duty vehicles but is an ideal fuel for large (class 8) trucks, transit buses, and medium-duty fleet trucks. There are over 150,000 NGVs on the road in the U.S. fueling at 1,500 locations. Over half of these sites are commercially accessible.

Benefits

Cost Benefits

Natural gas typically is cheaper than that of the conventional fuels of diesel and gasoline. Average natural gas costs are one-third less than gasoline at the pump.

Ecologically Friendly

Light duty vehicles running can reduce life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by 15% (or 84% if running on RNG). CNG fuel systems also are completely sealed causing these vehicles to produce no evaporative emissions

Energy Independence

Nearly 90% of natural gas is domestically produced increasing the country’s energy security.

Considerations

The driving range of NGVs is generally less than that of gasoline and diesel vehicles, however extra storage tanks or the use of LNG can help increase range for larger vehicles.


Further Resources

To learn more about Renewable Natural Gas in particular, access Triangle Clean Cities flyer below.

The DOE offers an in depth analysis of alternative fuel sources. View information regarding ethanol below.

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