About NGVs

With proven reserves of domestic natural gas soaring and our dependence on foreign oil as burdensome as ever, it only makes sense to start using our clean, inexpensive, and abundant natural gas as a vehicle fuel. Natural gas vehicles (NGV) are good for our economy, our environment, and your bottom line. Whether you are an individual or a fleet manager, never before have there been so many natural gas products and services available, spurred by unprecedented industry investment and government incentives. Read on to learn more about the many benefits of NGVs.

Facts about Natural Gas Vehicles

  • There are about 142,000 NGVs on U.S. roads today and more than 15.2 million worldwide.
  • There are about 1,325 NGV fueling stations in the U.S., and refueling appliances are available for home use.
  • In the U.S., about 50 different manufacturers produce 100 models of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles and engines.
  • Natural gas currently costs from $1.50 to $2.00 less per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE).
  • In the U.S. alone, NGVs offset the use of about 400 million gallons of gasoline in 2013.
  • NGVs meet the strictest emission standards, including California’s AT-PZEV standard.
  • NGVs are as safe as or safer than traditional gasoline or diesel vehicles.

Benefits of NGVs
Natural gas is a clean alternative fuel that is both less expensive and more environmentally friendly than diesel or gasoline. Whether in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG), this domestically produced fuel offers many economic, environmental, and policy benefits.

Savings
Natural gas vehicles typically cost more than gasoline or diesel vehicles. This is largely due to the cost of high-pressure and insulated fuel tanks, which are necessary to store CNG or LNG. However, the cost of natural gas fuel is now $1.50 to $2.00 less per gallon. The savings in fuel costs can translate into significant savings over the life of a vehicle, depending on fuel efficiency and the number of miles driven. The greatest savings are currently being seen in heavy-duty, high mileage fleets. These vehicles consume enough fuel for owners and operators to see a pay back in as little as 18–24 months. As the price of fuel tanks comes down, light-duty passenger vehicles will become less expensive and also will enjoy a shorter payback period.

Petroleum Displacement
Making America less dependent on foreign oil is a national priority. President Obama has set the ambitious goal to cut net oil imports by half by the end of the decade. An important part of Obama’s strategy is to invest in alternative fuels, including natural gas for vehicles. In the Blueprint for a Clean and Secure Energy Future Fact Sheet, the President outlines his commitment to partnering with the private sector to adopt natural gas in the Nation’s trucking fleet. This includes establishing “a credit for 50 percent of the incremental cost of a dedicated alternative-fuel truck for a five-year period; supporting research to ensure the safe and responsible use of natural gas; and funding to support a select number of deployment communities.”

Congress also strongly supports reducing petroleum use and has passed laws that provide incentives to Americans who switch to alternative fuel vehicles. For a list of both federal and state incentives, click here.

While the U.S. imports more than 47 percent of the oil it uses, 98 percent of the natural gas used in the U.S. is produced in North America. Every gallon equivalent of natural gas used in vehicles is one less gallon of petroleum that has to be imported.

Emissions Benefits
Exhaust emissions from NGVs are much lower than those from gasoline and diesel vehicles. For example, the natural gas-powered Honda Civic Natural Gas has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as the cleanest commercially available, internal-combustion vehicle. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) rated the Civic Natural Gas to meet the stringent AT-PZEV standard. In gasoline vehicles, evaporative and fueling emissions account for a significant portion of the emissions associated with operation. NGVs, on the other hand, produce little or no evaporative emissions during fueling and use.

According to the Argonne National Lab’s well-to-wheels emissions analysis that uses the latest U.S. EPA figures, NGVs enjoy the following emissions reductions over both new and in-use gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Emissions Reductions (%) of New NGVs Compared to New Gasoline and Diesel Vehicles (2012)

LD Car

LD Truck

School Bus

Heavy Duty Trucks (v. Diesel)

CNG v. Gasoline

CNG v. Diesel

CNG

LNG

LNG Dual Fuel

GHG

13

14

13

13

13

21

NOx

16

16

16

40

40

40

Emissions Reductions (%) of New NGVs Compared to In-Use Gasoline and Diesel Vehicles

LD Car

LD Truck

School Bus

Heavy Duty Truck

CNG v. Gasoline

CNG v. Diesel

CNG v. Diesel

2002

2007

2002

2007

2002

2007

2002

2007

GHG

18

18

25

25

25

25

25

25

NOx

91

34

 97

91

92

76

95

88

PM10

50

0

98

12

98

21

98

22

Natural Gas as a Transportation Fuel is Growing

  • According to the American Public Transit Association, about one-fifth of all transit buses were run by compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid natural gas (LNG) in 2012. Currently, transit buses are the largest users of natural gas for vehicles.
  • The fastest growing NGV segment is waste collection and transfer vehicles. Almost 50 percent of the trash trucks purchased in 2012 are powered by natural gas.
  • More than 35 airports in the U.S. have natural gas vehicles in their own fleets or have policies that encourage use by private fleets operating on premises, making this sector the third largest in vehicular natural gas use.
  • The successful Clean Port Initiative in Southern California is spurring adoption of similar policies in other ports on both coasts.