Natural gas is widely used to provide electricity to a local or regional power grid, and also to directly power some homes, but did you realize that there are also vehicles that run on compressed natural gas (CNG)? These aren’t specially designed, LNG plant-owned vehicles, either; they’re consumer grade cars, trucks, vans, and public transportation buses that run on natural gas.
While there may not be a high demand for CNG vehicles, there are some out there, and they come in the form of well known vehicles already mass produced. Ford F-250s, Dodge Ram 2500s, Chevrolet Silverado 2500s, and even the popular Honda Civic has a CNG variant, and is the only light duty CNG vehicle. The Civic has been on the market since 1998 and sells out faster than they are produced. That’s only the beginning: one could actually convert their existing vehicle from gasoline to CNG or purchase pre-owned fleet vehicles at government auctions.
Public transportation has been implementing CNG buses and vans as well. About 12% to 15% of all public transportation is CNG or LNG powered, and 1 in 5 future buses are outfitted with CNG engines. These vehicles are a lot cheaper to run than their gasoline counterparts, with CNG costing about $0.86 per gasoline gallon equivalent (GGE). California and New York currently lead the CNG revolution, but several other states are holding their own, including Massachusetts, Texas, Georgia, Utah, and Washington DC. In Utah alone, there are more than 5,000 CNG vehicles in use, with each one worth $3,000 in state tax credits. Many other states offer incentives to buy or convert to CNG vehicles, but the list of convertible vehicles is rather small, leaving many to overlook them entirely. The simple truth is that CNG vehicles are much cheaper to fuel and are cleaner than gasoline vehicles, but there aren’t enough manufacturers working to put more on the market. Hopefully demand for these vehicles will pick up and more people will see the benefits of owning them.
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