Most natural gas is extracted from gas wells or produced in conjunction with crude oil. Renewable natural gas can also be produced from decaying organic materials, such as waste from plants, landfills, wastewater, and livestock. As transportation fuel, natural gas is compressed (CNG) or liquefied (LNG). With recent expansion of the U.S. natural gas industry, resulting in attractive pricing, it’s an excellent time to consider using this alternative to gasoline and diesel.
On an energy equivalent basis, use of CNG can reduce CO2 tailpipe emissions by 10% or more versus traditional fossil fuels, and lifecycle CO2 emissions by five percent or more (GREET). Assuming an annual mileage of 15,000 and a $1/gallon price difference, a pickup truck could save at least $1,000 in yearly fuel costs by driving on natural gas. CNG is considered safer than gasoline and diesel, because it dissipates away from the vehicle after a spill whereas gasoline and diesel will pool. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency over 90 percent of natural gas used comes from domestic sources compared to less than 50 percent of petroleum.
What Vehicles are Available?
Natural gas vehicle offerings from original equipment manufacturers have expanded from Honda’s Civic to pickups and vans from Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors. Popular heavy duty applications for CNG include refuse, transit and school buses. LNG is moving into the long haul truck market. Many light and heavy duty vehicles can be up-fitted to operate on CNG by companies that have received certification by the U.S. EPA.
The N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center maintains a list of CNG technology providers that serve the North Carolina market. See the Clean Transportation Technology Buy Book for more details.
Where Can I Fuel a Natural Gas Vehicle?
A database of public CNG filling stations is compiled by the Alternative Fuels Data Center.
Where Can I Find More Information?
A printable Natural Gas Vehicle Overview fact sheet is also available