Natural gas powers more than 160,000 vehicles in the United States and roughly 23 million vehicles worldwide. Natural gas has an advantage as a transportation fuel because of its domestic availability, widespread distribution infrastructure, and reduced harmful emissions compared to conventional gasoline and diesel fuels.
Fueling with Natural Gas Reduces Emissions
In comparison to coal or petroleum, natural gas emits significantly lower amounts of smog-forming pollutants, toxic air contaminants, and gases that contribute to global climate change. This is especially important in California where the transportation sector, currently dominated by diesel-fueled vehicles, is the largest contributor of greenhouse gasses (GHGs). Compared to diesel, liquefied natural gas (LNG) provides an 11% reduction in well-to-wheels GHG emissions, while compressed natural gas (CNG) provides a 17% reduction in well-to-wheels GHG emissions. (“Well-to-wheels” means a lifecycle emissions analysis)
Natural Gas is a Domestically Abundant & Reliable Transportation Fuel
(Source: NGVA, 2017)
The United States is the number one natural gas producer in the world, and has more than a 90 year supply of recoverable natural gas based on current usage levels.
With over 2.5 million miles of pipeline infrastructure, the U.S. natural gas pipeline system is well poised to support a national network of CNG and LNG fueling stations. Natural gas fueling station infrastructure is continually expanding, with approximately 2,000 fueling stations nationwide and 10-12 new stations added each month.
(prices per $DGE)
Long-Term Fuel Cost Savings
At the pump, average natural gas prices are typically $0.75 to $2 lower than diesel. Reputable economic models predict that this price spread will remain for several decades, as shown on the left.
Price Stability at the Pump
Beyond the positive fuel-price spread, natural gas is also known to have relatively stable pump prices compared to diesel because natural gas is domestically sourced, whereas crude oil is largely sourced from politically unstable and high-conflict regions. Secondly, the commodity cost of natural gas only makes up 23% of the pump price so price fluctuations have minimal impact whereas approximately 60% of the price of diesel fuel is impacted by the crude oil commodity cost, which can lead to significant price swings.
(Source: NGVAmerica, 2017)