Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles
What Are Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles?
Compressed natural gas vehicles, or CNGV, are vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, one of the few viable alternatives to gasoline on the market today. CNG is created by compressing a mixture of gases that is mostly methane into less than one percent of its normal volume. You can't smell it, see it or taste it, and it's an abundant fuel source drilled from gas wells.
There are currently more than 12 million compressed natural gas vehicles on the road today. This is an area where the United States is lagging behind, as Americans only own around 100,00. This is likely sue to a lack of fueling stations in certain areas, as there are only 1,100 in the entire US. Those lucky enough to live in an area that has fueling stations close by should look into this clean, abundant fuel. You can save up to 50% on your fuel costs by making the switch.
Are Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles Safe?
While compressed natural gas is flammable, it isn't any more so than gasoline. CNG is non-toxic and doesn't pose a threat to wildlife in the event of an accident. As a matter of fact, unless the spill or leak is in an enclosed area like a garage, chances are most of the released gas will rapidly rise into the atmosphere. Many CNG vehicles come equipped with sensors that will alert you in the unlikely event of a leak.
Is CNG a Clean, Sustainable Fuel?
Compressed natural gas vehicles release significantly less greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than their gasoline-burning counterparts. CO2 is reduced by 20 to 30 percent, VOC's are reduced by almost 90 percent and carbon monoxide is reduced by up to 90 percent. Little or no fumes are released during fueling.
As far as sustainability goes, it is a fossil fuel, albeit one that is abundant. Using current drilling and extraction methods, it's estimated the United States alone holds a hundred year supply. While global oil discovery and production has peaked, CNG reserves are growing. The supply will undoubtedly grow as new reserves are found and better extraction methods are discovered. The main component of CNG is methane, which is produced as organic matter and garbage rot in dumps. This source of biogas is largely untapped and could go a long way towards making compressed natural gas vehicles the smart choice for those looking to purchase a vehicle that runs on a renewable energy source.
Should You Make the Switch?
If you live in an area where finding a fuel station for your vehicle won't be a problem, it should be a serious contender. Even if you don't, home fueling stations that allow owners to refuel directly from their home natural gas lines are available now. Using a home station, compressed natural gas will cost you approximately 99 cents for the equivalent to a gallon of gasoline. This offers significant savings in comparison to a gasoline powered vehicle, especially as gas prices creep over $4.00 dollars a gallon in some metropolitan areas.
While it can cost upwards of $4000 dollars to convert an existing vehicle to compressed natural gas, your vehicle is likely to last longer and your fuel costs will be significantly reduced. If you plan on buying new, a $4000 tax rebate is available. This should be more than enough to offset the added cost of purchasing a compressed natural gas vehicle.
What are your thoughts on compressed natural gas vehicles?