Natural gas powers express buses to Dodger Stadium, taxis in New Haven, UPS delivery trucks in Colorado, garbage haulers in Seattle and government cars from Pensacola to Salt Lake City, but probably not the car in your driveway. Consequently, natural gas accounts for 25% of the nation’s overall energy use, only one-tenth of one percent of that is for transportation fuel. Yet the U.S. has abundant supplies, it can be used to produce large quantities of methanol, and it bests gasoline in a number of areas.
Unlike petroleum for gasoline, natural gas can be used to fuel transportation in multiple ways to suit the market and consumer preferences.
- Natural gas directly fuels fleet, government and even a consumer passenger vehicle—the Honda Civic GX.
- Natural gas can be readily converted to methanol.
- Natural gas has potential in fuel cells and as an “advanced fuel” combined with hydrogen.
Supplies and potential supplies of natural gas are abundant, both in the U.S. and around the world.
- U.S. supplies alone would allow displacement of a substantial portion of foreign oil.
- Large reserves of natural gas in the U.S. remain underexploited or under explored. Using modern technologies, these supplies be a major source of American-made fuels.
More extensive use of natural gas as a neat or derivative fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality in our cities.
- Combustion of natural gas produces far fewer carbon emissions than oil.
- Natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline engines, reducing urban smog and the associated health effects. In fact, the natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX is rated the nation’s greenest car and according to EPA has cleanest internal combustion engine.