Today I am writing about CNG’s or “natural gas vehicles”. I have always had a fascination with cars and engines. When I was attending Cal Poly in the 1990s, I chose natural gas vehicles as the subject of my senior project. I took my little Toyota truck and converted it to run on natural gas. I was able to do the conversion myself and drove the truck until I sold it. I really enjoyed it because the fuel was cheap and it burns much cleaner and I’ve been following it ever since.
About ten years ago I drove a Honda Civic that ran exclusively on natural gas and it had another great benefit. You could drive in the carpool lane. I was going to and from Irvine so that saved me about an hour of driving a day.
What is a natural gas car?
Basically, it’s like a regular gas car…it has the same type of engine and when you drive, it feels like a regular car. But… instead of running on gasoline, it runs on the same gas that comes out of your stove. You could actually install a fill pump in your house and fill it up at home! You could never need to go to the gas station. But if you didn’t have your home fueling system, then you would need to find a natural gas filling station near your home or work. It takes a little more planning because the last thing you want to do is run out of fuel. If it does, it has to be towed to the station.
Let me tell you 4 good reasons to drive a natural gas vehicle:
- For me, the biggest advantage of driving a CNG would be the price of fuel. That’s because I’m cheap. Right now, a gallon of gas equivalent (GGE) costs $2.44. In reality, CNGs require fewer oil changes and spark plugs and engine parts last longer because the gas burns cleaner. So again, if you’re cheap like me, you like low maintenance.
- They pollute much less than a gasoline car. Natural gas vehicles emit between 13 and 21 percent less GHG emissions than comparable gasoline and diesel vehicles. If you are a fan of Al Gore, then you will like them. An NGV has higher emissions than an electric car, but electric cars have lithium-ion batteries that will eventually go bad. Battery replacement is around $5000. For the most part, we don’t really know how long they last. It may need to be replaced once or twice in the life of the car and we really don’t know how much of an impact it will have on landfills.
- You support the American economy. Gasoline comes from oil. USA. imports 9 billion gallons of oil a day!!! That’s about $17 billion a day. I don’t know if everyone is aware of this, but we have all the energy we need right here at home in the form of natural gas and our vehicles will run just fine on natural gas.
- You may drive alone in the carpool lane.
My hope is that with this short article, you will learn a little more about natural gas vehicles.
- Save money on fuel and maintenance (no batteries to worry about)
- They pollute much less: transport accounts for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions, so this is a good way to reduce global warming.
- It’s good for the American economy: we can be less dependent on the Middle East and we can produce our own energy for our cars.
- You may drive alone in the carpool lane
For some reason, the United States is falling behind the rest of the world. I would love to see the US start using natural gas instead of gasoline. Maybe you can consider it now, especially when prices start to rise at the pump.