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SANTA CRUZ COUNTY
REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION

NATURAL GAS VEHICLE FACT SHEET


 
What?
                     Natural gas is a mixture of hydrocarbons, mainly methane.  Methane is extracted from gas wells and can also be captured from landfills.  Currently 100% of the natural gas we use is found in North America .
                      There are two forms of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) that are used for vehicles: compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquified natural gas (LNG).  CNG vehicles are currently more common than LNG, but LNG may become more popular in the future due to the benefits of higher energy density and the resulting extended driving range.
Why?
                      Methane burns very cleanly and efficiently.  Therefore, natural gas emissions are much lower than those from gasoline-powered vehicles.  The latest factory-built NGVs meet the lowest level emissions classifications set by the California Air Resources Board.  Overall emissions average 80% less than reformulated gasoline.
How?
                      NGVs are the same as gasoline vehicles, except for the fuel source.  Natural gas is compressed or liquified and stored in cylinders in the vehicle.  From the cylinder, the natural gas is mixed with air and flows into the engine=s combustion chamber.
                      Refueling can be done from a small dispenser at home (called Atime fill@), but more convenient Afast fills@ are available at public fueling stations and require only 3-6 minutes.
Cost?
                      The cost of natural gas averages $.80 to $1.05 for an amount equivalent to a gallon of gasoline.
                      The driving range is usually 120 to 180 miles depending on the vehicle and driving conditions.
                      NGVs cost anywhere from $3,500 to $7,000 more than traditional gasoline vehicles. Conversion kits are available for light duty vehicles but are usually not considered economically feasible.
Who? 
                     Many companies including Daimler Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota are manufacturing NGVs.
                      There are currently over 130 NGV fueling stations in California.  As the number of public refueling sites increase, NGVs will become a more viable option for individuals.
                      Santa Cruz Metro, the county=s public transit operator, designated CNG as the fuel for all its new bus purchases. The Metro bus fleet will be converted to CNG over time (www.scmtd.com)
                      Local government agencies in Santa Cruz County have invested in CNG.  The County of Santa Cruz and the City of Watsonville own a number of CNG fleet vehicles and operate CNG fueling stations for their vehicles.
 
More information on all types of alternative fuel vehicles can be found on the Internet.
One comprehensive site is the Alternative Fuel Vehicle website at
http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/afv/index.html

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