Natural Gas

Natural gas is one of the most widely available and developed of the alternative fuels. It is 90% methane and contains a mix of hydrocarbons that is produced from gas wells or from crude petroleum production. Most frequently, natural gas used in vehicles is compressed natural gas (CNG) that is stored on board vehicles in specially designed and constructed cylinders. In heavy duty applications, cryogenically stored liquid natural gas (LNG) is frequently used.

In 2005, the number of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) on the road in the US exceeds 130,000 and is over 5 million worldwide, making NGVs one of the most widespread of the alternative fuel vehicles. Nation-wide, there are 767 total LNG and compressed natural gas (CNG) stations. There are NGVs that are dedicated to running only on natural gas and there are also bi-fuel vehicles that have two separate fuel systems and operate on either natural gas or gasoline.

American Honda produces a light duty vehicle, the Civic GX, which runs on NG. In addition, Chevrolet has produced 2007 Silverado and Sierra trucks that run on both NG only or are bi-fuel capable. There are a number third party companies that convert OEM vehicles to operate on natural gas. Natural gas is also used in many medium- and heavy-duty applications including transit buses, school buses, delivery trucks, and refuse haulers. About one fourth of all new transit buses are powered by natural gas.

Benefits of Natural Gas as a Fuel

Natural gas vehicles produce lower emissions than vehicles running on gasoline or diesel. In addition, NGVs do not emit the particulate matter that creates smog-like haze and that causes harm to human respiratory and cardio vascular systems.

Another benefit of natural gas as a transportation fuel is that it is a domestic resource that can help the United States reduce its dependence on foreign oil. The cost of a gasoline-gallon equivalent of CNG compares favorably to that of gasoline, so driving a natural gas vehicle may save you money.

Natural gas reduces carbon monoxide, non-methane hydrocarbon and NOx emissions. Natural gas does however increase total hydrocarbon emissions.

Natural Gas Emissions Compared to Gasoline

Carbon Monoxide -66%
Non-methane Hydrocarbons -68%
NOx -9%
Total Hydrocarbons (THC) +220%

Training and consulting services on the application of natural gas as a transportation fuel are available through AFV Institute’s affiliate, The Natural Gas Vehicle Institute.

  • Click here to go to the Natural Gas Vehicle Institute website.
  • Click here to learn about Consulting Services available on the use of natural gas as a fuel.
  • Click here to learn more about available natural gas vehicle and fueling Training.
  • Click here for information about natural gas fueling availability.

Natural Gas Links