With the increasing use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternate fuel source comes the discussion of how to more extensively use it as a clean energy source. While 30 percent of the United States’ energy sources are natural gas, less than one percent of that is used as fuel for vehicles like CNG trucks.
A majority of CNG vehicles that use this fuel source belong to large corporations or municipalities. Many companies that utilize heavy-duty construction trucks, public transportation buses, or delivery vans convert their fleets to utilize compressed natural gas. CNG fleets benefit these organizations by saving them money and the environment simultaneously.
However, only 250,000 of the world’s 12 million vehicles powered by CNG are located in the United States; most of these vehicles are fleet vehicles. As municipal and corporate fleets lead the way in proving the efficient and safe use of compressed natural gas as alternative fuel, there should be an expansion of CNG consumer vehicles in the United States.
The biggest way to see an increase in light-duty CNG vehicles in the United States is to encourage manufacturers to create CNG cars with compatible engines. There are only a few models of vehicles on the market, like the Ford F250, that utilize compressed natural gas in different ways. A dedicated CNG vehicle runs strictly on natural gas, while a bi-fuel vehicle can run on either natural gas or gasoline; dual-fuel vehicles use diesel fuel for ignition and natural gas the rest of the time.
A deterrent for consumers looking to purchase CNG vehicles might be the sparse number of fueling stations throughout the United States, especially when compared to the number of gas stations. When consumers don’t have to convert their everyday vehicles or go out of their way to find a fueling station, they’re more likely to buy easy-to-use, sustainable vehicles.
If there are more CNG consumer vehicles on the road, there needs to be more government support of these vehicles. This should start at the state level with inspection processes, as not all states have these in place for compressed natural gas vehicles. Outside of state government support, there needs to be more of a nationwide incentive for cleaner energy cars. With more state support and a national incentive for compressed natural gas, it would be convenient and sustainable for consumers to have a CNG vehicle.
Ozinga builds CNG fueling stations and has hundreds of CNG trucks on the road. Contact an energy specialist for help converting your vehicle.