Natural Gas Stations in the U.S.
The country’s station count has grown dramatically in the last three years, and there are now 1,640 CNG and 123 LNG natural gas stations operating in the U.S. While only a little more than half of these stations are “public access,” investments are being made to upgrade older stations to increase capacity and improve the fueling experience. New stations are being built with an emphasis on creating a traditional fueling experience for the customer.
During the early 1990s the country’s natural gas refueling infrastructure experienced a period of growth, largely driven by the alternative fuel vehicle mandates of the Energy Policy Act. Following its peak in 1997, national natural gas refueling infrastructure declined for approximately a decade, and since 2006 is trending upward. A number of stakeholders are engaged in the market, including natural gas exploration and production companies, local utilities, truck stops, convenience stores, and fleets.
Natural gas stations provide fuel either as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). CNG stations use pipeline gas from the local utility and compress it on-site. LNG stations typically rely on LNG that is produced off-site at dedicated liquefaction facilities that is then trucked in and stored for use at the station. There is a third variation called an LCNG station that produces CNG by warming LNG and storing the high-pressure gas for use by vehicles. CNG and LNG stations employ different components and technologies that necessitate designs and builds that are particular to the fuel being dispensed.
CNG is used on all vehicle classes, from passenger vehicles to heavy-duty trucks, while LNG is typically used only on high-mileage, high fuel-use vehicles such as long-haul trucks. The CNG station network today supports local vehicle operation and regional trucking in many parts of the country. LNG stations are being constructed along America’s interstate highways to support the nation’s long-haul trucking operators, and many stations are already built and await sufficient demand to open.
Below are station growth charts and graphs provided by NGVAmerica that analyze both CNG and LNG station development. CNG and LNG station locators provided by the Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) are also included below. NGVAmerica provides a more in-depth station development analysis in the monthly Natural Gas Infrastructure Report. This report is available exclusively to NGVAmerica members. For more information on membership, visit our membership page here.