You keep hearing about natural gas and CNG, but what what is it really? And why should you care about using CNG instead of gasoline or diesel fuel for transportation in America today? In the first episode of this six-part educational series, CNGnow outlines the environmental, economic and geopolitical benefits of making the switch to compressed natural gas.
Consumer use of the fuel is most prevalent in California and New York. Utah is catching up fast, with the most CNG stations per capita and more than 5,000 CNG vehicles on the roads. With a $3,000 state tax incentive credit and CNG prices at about 86¢ per gasoline gallon equivalent, it's no wonder that even the governor drives a CNG vehicle.
Many other states have federal vehicle tax credits in place to provide incentives for drivers to purchase CNG vehicles or to convert their vehicles, if it's one of the limited number that qualify, to run on CNG fuel.
Roughly 250,000 of the 12 million CNG vehicles worldwide are in the U.S.,according to GE, including aftermarket conversions. The nation's only light-duty, factory-produced CNG vehicle in production, the Honda Civic Natural Gas, has been on the market since 1998. Though these vehicles are selling out faster than they are made and production is expanding, no other automakers are currently manufacturing light-duty CNG vehicles in the U.S.
The bottom line is simple. We need more major automakers manufacturing new CNG vehicles at home and more American consumers taking them to the streets.
Vast new natural gas resources are being discovered across North America. In the past five years, shale reservoirs have revealed natural gas deposits that doubled previous estimated U.S. gas reserves - giving us close to a 100-year supply. And the supply is growing as new technology allows us to produce from large reserves that were too difficult to access until recently. It's vital because many experts agree that global oil production has peaked, even as demand is still rising. Because of its growing abundance, domestic natural gas will play a major role in meeting our 21st-century energy needs.
Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are our best answer for reducing dependence on foreign oil and increasing domestic energy and national security. Almost all of the natural gas we use comes from right here in North America. Conversely, 60% of the oil we use is imported.We export approximately $1.25 billion a day to pay for foreign oil, adding to our trade deficit and weakening the dollar. By using domestic natural gas, we strengthen both our nation's economy and energy security - keeping jobs and revenues at home. In July 2012 the U.S. spent $34.6 billion on imported oil. If not burdened with this addiction, our country could have: