School Transportation News
NGVs Make the Grade
August 2010 issue

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Metro Magazine
Natural Gas Transit Meeting America's Needs. Moving America Forward
September 2008 Issue

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American City &
County Magazine
November 2007 Issue

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Waste Age Magazine
Natural Gas Trucks Proven, Reliable Performance
Using Our Abundant,
Economical Resource For a Cleaner, Stronger America

June 2009 Issue

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  NGV Fact Sheet

About Natural Gas Vehicles

    • There are over 120,000 NGVs on U.S. roads today and over 8.7 million worldwide.
      There are over 1,100 NGV fueling stations in the U.S. - over half are available for public use.
    • Natural gas costs, on average, one-third less than conventional gasoline at the pump.
    • Over 50 different manufacturers produce 150 models of light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles and engines.
    • Roughly 22 percent of all new transit bus orders are for natural gas.
    • Natural gas is sold in GGEs or gasoline gallon equivalents.  A GGE has the same energy content (124,800 BTUs) as a gallon of gasoline.

Benefits of NGVs

Petroleum Displacement
Making America less dependent on foreign oil is a national priority.  In his 2006 State-of-the-Union address, President Bush stated that we are “addicted to oil,” and his Administration is dedicated to reducing that addiction.  Congress, too, is strongly on record in support of reducing petroleum use, and has passed a number of pieces of legislation to incentivize Americans to move to non-petroleum fuels.  While in 2005, the U.S. imported over 65 percent of the oil it used, 97 percent of the natural gas used in the U.S. was produced in North America (85 percent from the U.S. and 12 percent from Canada).  Every gallon equivalent of natural gas used in vehicles is one less gallon of petroleum that has to be imported.

Urban Emissions
Exhaust emissions from a typical NGV are much lower than those from gasoline-powered vehicles. For example, the natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX is recognized by the U.S. EPA as the cleanest commercially available, internal-combustion vehicle on earth.  The Civic GX is rated by the California Air Resources Board as meeting the very stringent AT-PZEV standard.  In addition, dedicated NGVs produce little or no evaporative emissions during fueling and use. In gasoline vehicles, evaporative and fueling emissions account for at least 50 percent of a vehicle's total hydrocarbon emissions.

Typical dedicated NGVs can reduce exhaust emissions of:
    • Carbon monoxide (CO) by 70 percent
    • Non-methane organic gas (NMOG) by 87 percent
    • Nitrogen oxides (NOx) by 87 percent
    • Carbon dioxide (CO2) by almost 20 percent below those of gasoline vehicles.

Natural gas vehicles also produce far less urban emissions than diesel vehicles.  For example, even when the stringent 2007 EPA heavy-duty engine emission standards become applicable, NGVs will be producing only one-sixth the NOx of comparable diesel engines.

Greenhouse Gases
Per unit of energy, natural gas contains less carbon than any other fossil fuel, and thus produces lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per vehicle mile traveled. While NGVs do emit methane, another principle greenhouse gas, any increase in methane emissions is more than offset by a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions compared to other fuels.  Tests have shown that NGVs produce up to 20 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than comparable gasoline vehicles and up to 15 percent less than comparable diesel vehicles.

Safety
CNG, unlike gasoline, dissipates into the atmosphere in the event of an accident. Gasoline pools on the ground creating a fire hazard.

The fuel storage cylinders used in NGVs are much stronger than gasoline fuel tanks. The design of NGV cylinders are subjected to a number of federally required " severe abuse" tests, such as heat and pressure extremes, gunfire, collisions and fires.

NGV fuel systems are " sealed," which prevents any spills or evaporative losses. Even if a leak were to occur in an NGV fuel system, the natural gas would dissipate up into the air because it is lighter than air.

Natural gas has a high ignition temperature, about 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with about 600 degrees Fahrenheit for gasoline. It also has a narrow range of flammability, that is, in concentrations in air below about 5 percent and above about 15 percent, natural gas will not burn. The high ignition temperature and limited flammability range make accidental ignition or combustion of natural gas unlikely.

Natural gas is not toxic or corrosive and will not contaminate ground water.

Target Audience

Until an area develops an adequate natural gas fueling station infrastructure (as has already developed in Southern California), NGVs are most practical for fleets.  Fleets generally operate a number of vehicles that are centrally maintained and fueled.  They also travel more miles daily than the average personal use vehicle and therefore can take better advantage of the lower price per gallon of natural gas.  Among the fleets where use of NGVs is already growing are:

Examples

  • taxi cabs
  • over-the-road trucks
  • street sweepers
  • ice resurfacers
  • transit buses
  • refuse haulers
  • school buses
  • delivery vehicles
  • airport shuttles
  • forklifts