Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are an excellent alternative for drivers and fleet owners who want to reduce their carbon footprint. They combine compressed air, fuel, and heat to produce combustion, turning chemical energy into mechanical energy. NGVs, gasoline, and diesel vehicles operate the same way. Still, each fuel power offers benefits, but natural gas is the superior energy choice. Natural gas burns the cleanest, is the most cost-effective, and provides monetary incentives. In this post, we cover everything that natural NGVs have to offer.
Natural Gas Vehicles: Pros
Natural gas emissions don’t impact the environment as negatively as other fuels because natural gas burns cleaner. When you compare NGVs to gasoline and diesel vehicles, NGVs produce up to 30% less greenhouse gas emissions. They reduce carbon-monoxide emissions by 90% - 97%, carbon-dioxide emissions by 25%, and nitrogen-oxide emissions up to 60%. Thanks to natural gas, having less of the mentioned emissions reduce smog and carcinogenic pollutants in the atmosphere.
Your vehicle will last longer since natural gas causes less wear and tear. Because natural gas burns clean, it’s not corrosive to car parts. Maintenance service costs won’t hurt your pockets either because your vehicle will have fewer service appointments. Natural gas is gentler on vehicles and your budget for maintenance service.
On average, natural gas is one-third of the cost of gasoline. Compare the price of diesel fuel, gasoline, ethanol, methanol, and propane to natural gas. Natural gas wins with the lowest cost every time.
NGVs have two options for fuel: compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquid natural gas (LNG). Compressed natural gas is the most common fuel source for NGVs.
Natural gas gives the USA independence and energy security. Thanks to the controversial practice of fracking, natural gas is available and easily accessible within the United States’ borders. Since natural gas production is domestically sourced, its costs are kept low. The country isn’t at risk of running out of natural gas for a hundred years. The U.S. Energy Information Administration claims over 90% of natural gas consumed in the states in 2018 was produced domestically.
Natural gas vehicles already exist on the market. Whether you’re a fleet owner or commuter, hybrid vehicles are available for you to choose from. They run on a natural gas combustion engine and electric motor.
You can have your current gas or diesel car converted into a natural gas automobile. A diesel car needs to swap out the engine for a new natural gas engine. You could also fit it with compressed natural gas blending capability. A gasoline engine can have a new aftermarket kit installed by a certified compressed natural gas installer.
NGVs drive like gasoline-powered vehicles. You won’t have to learn a new way of driving or filling up your tank. The only difference is natural gas vehicles burn on greener energy. And if you have a particular aesthetic you like in cars, you won’t have to sacrifice it for NGVs. Natural gas cars look the same as regular cars.
Natural gas will help the United States make the leap to hydrogen energy. Hydrogen energy is the cleanest energy available because it emits water vapor instead of greenhouse gases. Advancements in natural gas technology and new processes will improve and streamline hydrogen energy production as a by-product.
States and cities offer driving benefits for driving a natural gas vehicle. In multiple states like California, Virginia, and Tennessee, to name a few, the Department of Motor Vehicles will give you a decal. The decal allows you to drive in the carpool lane even if you’re the only car occupant. Your commute or delivery times will improve since congestion will be minimal because fewer vehicles are in the lane.
You could receive car insurance benefits. If you compare car insurance rates, you could save on your premium. Some providers provide lower car insurance quotes to drivers who use natural gas vehicles. Call an Insurance Navy agent at (888) 949 - 6289 to get a quote today.
Some states offer rebates and tax incentives to people who drive a CNG. When a CNG is bought brand new, you could receive up to $7,500 in federal tax credits. There are also local incentives available for natural gas car drivers. Although California is not the only state offering perks, California leads the nation in rebates and the green initiative.
The natural gas engine is quieter than the diesel and gasoline engines. This makes natural gas cars great for city dwellers because they cut noise pollution, which is a service to your neighbor.
Natural gas cars are safer because their storage tanks are thicker. Gas leaks are rare when you compare them to diesel and gasoline engine leaks. Natural gas tanks are durable, adding a level of safety to the driving experience. Also, there is a low risk of contaminating groundwater because of the compressed natural gas tank’s durability and its gaseous state.
CNG fleets and cars produce power ratings similar to diesel cars. Natural gas has a high octane rating, which means the engine is more efficient at compression and combustion.
Natural Gas Vehicles: Cons
Finding a place to fuel up an NGV is tough. There are 1,200 natural gas stations in the USA compared to over 120,000 stations for gasoline. Unless you live in California, Oklahoma, Texas, you will have a hard time buying NGV fuel, if you can purchase it at all. If there are places to get NGV fuel, it is miles away and inconvenient. You could invest in an at-home natural gas fuel system to make your life easier.
A CNG vehicle is more expensive than a gasoline vehicle. If you compare the price of new natural gas vehicles with new gasoline cars, the gasoline model is cheaper.
Only used NGV models are readily available in the U.S. If you want a brand new CNG car or fleet, you have to order directly from the manufacturer. For example, RAM offers CNG models for new pickup trucks, but you have to buy a new kit and have it installed by an authorized mechanic.
CNG cars are hard to find. Lots of manufacturers discontinued their line of natural gas passenger cars. Chevy and Honda had bi-fuel cars. There aren’t many manufacturers that make new CNG cars for the general public in America.
Calculating your fuel economy will take some getting used to. Instead of miles per gallon (MPG), natural gas car fuel efficiency is measured as miles per gasoline gallon equivalent (MPGe). CNG cars are not fuel-efficient.
Should You Buy a Natural Gas Vehicle?
First of all, see if there are NGVs on sale near you. If not, will you travel the distance to purchase one? Then decide whether you prefer a new or used natural gas car. A used CNG car can cost $10,000 more than a new gasoline model. If you are not willing to drive a used natural gas pickup truck or car, consider whether you can afford a brand new one.
How easily can you access natural gas fuel? If there are several CNG fuel stations near you, or you’re willing to pay for a new at-home fuel system, go for it. Compare the federal and local incentives available to drivers with natural gas cars and fleets.
There is a lot to consider when deciding if a CNG is suitable for you, but the payoff will be well worth it if reducing your carbon footprint is important to you.