06 Mar 10 Facts That You Need To Know About Natural Gas Vehicles?
A natural gas vehicle is an alternative fuel vehicle. It uses compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas as a cleaner alternative to other fossil fuels.
Natural gas vehicles shouldn’t be confused with vehicles powered by propane. Propane is a fuel with a fundamentally different composition.
There’re a lot of opportunities as well as a variety of drawbacks for vehicles powered by NG. Here is our take on ten things that you should know about NG-powered vehicles:
- Infrastructure bottleneck:
Like the hydrogen highway compressed NG vehicles need fueling stations.
According to the NG vehicle trade group- the NG Vehicles for America (NGVA) there’re over one thousand one hundred stations in the U.S.
That might sound like a lot. But only half are available to the public. The U.S. would require a lot more natural gas stations to power a third of its vehicles.
- Greenhouse Gas Reductions:
The NGVA also says that natural gas vehicles generate twenty percent less greenhouse gas emissions than a standard gas vehicle.
That is about the same as corn-based ethanol. So for greenhouse gas reductions it is pretty good but not perfect.
- Natural gas is the cleanest transportation fuel available today:
It is because, in addition to carbon dioxide reductions, NGVs also produce non-methane organic gas, less carbon monoxide & nitrogen oxides.
- Natural gas is still a fossil fuel:
Natural gas is still a hydrocarbon. It has to be taken out of wells and is in limited supply.
With the rising demand for natural gas more than fifteen percent of our natural gas will be imported from countries other than Canada and Mexico by 2025.
- The Honda Civic GX:
The natural gas consumer car costs around US $24,590. It is sold in California and New York and has a 170 mile fuel range.
- Smaller Range:
NG vehicles have a shorter driving range than regular gas-powered vehicles. It is because NG has a lower energy content compared to gas.
- State and Federal Incentives:
It helps reduce the price tag by several thousand dollars. In some states like California, NG vehicles can also drive in the carpool lanes.
- With Gas Prices High, NG is Cheap, For Now:
That is because; NG now costs about half as much per unit energy as gasoline. It has a greater cost advantage over diesel fuel.
- City Fleets:
The GX might get a lot of press. However a significant portion of the natural gas vehicles on the road in the United States are owned & maintained by cities and companies.
Companies like UPS have placed orders for hundreds of NGV’s. Several cities in California have also converted their fleets to natural gas vehicles.
- Home Fueling:
A company called FuelMaker makes a natural gas home refueler called Phill. Seriously, that is what they named it.
While considering adding NG vehicles to your fleet, or converting existing models, several economic factors need to be considered:
- Reduced fuel expenses.
- Overall depreciation costs.
- Higher acquisition costs.
- Leasing costs.
- Potentially higher TCO due to varied fuel prices.
- Similar maintenance costs.
NG vehicles are safer. The fuel storage tanks on an NGV are stronger & thicker than gasoline or diesel tanks.
There hasn’t been an NGV fuel-tank rupture in more than two years in the United States.
Natural gas costs are lower than gasoline. On an average, natural gas costs 1/3rd less than gasoline at the pump.
It is convenient and abundant. A well-established pipeline infrastructure exists in the US. It delivers natural gas to almost every urban area and most suburban areas.
There’re more than one thousand three hundred NGV fueling stations in the United States, and more are being added every day.
Historically, NG prices exhibit price stability compared to the prices of petroleum-based fuels. So it’s easier to plan accurately for long-term costs.
NGVs have lower maintenance costs. As natural gas burns so cleanly, it extends the time between tune-ups and oil changes.
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