Despite a significant number of natural gas vehicles around the world, the United States has yet to fully adopt this as a viable way to help the American workforce get from point-A to point-B according to a report from the New York Times. In other countries, such as Argentina that boasts 2,000 natural gas filling stations and Iran who has over 2 million vehicles on the road powered by natural gas alone, when is the United States going to step it up? The answer is that natural gas could be coming to a city near you very soon!
How Much Money Do Natural Gas Powered Engines Save?
The US Department of Energy’s latest findings are that natural gas saves about $1.50 per gallon of gas and that they have a smaller carbon footprint than gasoline powered vehicles. In an economy where consumers need access to affordable transportation, this means traditional gasoline and diesel engines may become a thing of the past to newer natural gas, electric and solar-powered engines in personal vehicles, SUVs, and busses around the nation.
While natural gas vehicles are currently priced at around 20 to 30 percent more than gasoline-powered vehicles, consider that when popular electric vehicles rolled off the lots in the early millennium, their sales skyrocketed due to the energy crisis. According to the Natural Gas Vehicles for America, an industry-funded trade group there are an estimated 120,000 natural gas powered vehicles on US roads (as of 2013). This number is expected to double by the year 2023 as more consumers turn to alternative fuel sources.
Why Natural Gas Engines are on the Rise
There are several reasons why natural gas vehicles are catching on, according to reports in Bloomberg BusinessWeek. These include:
- The increase in natural gas availability as a result of shale fracking in and around Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, New York, and many other states hit hard by the recession.
- The significantly lower cost and less environmental impact of natural gas as compared to other fuel choices.
- Large vehicle manufacturers such as Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler as well as engine-manufacturers like GM and GE backing natural gas engine development with millions of dollars.
Michigan City recently purchased two natural gas powered trucks in an effort to reduce costs of transportation, according to a recent Times of Northwest Indiana article. Grants are available for communities that want to invest in environmentally friendly vehicles that use compressed natural gas and are less taxing on the air-quality of urban areas. This means more areas around Michigan’s towns and cities that rely on public transportation and services can expect to see alternative fuel vehicles being put to the test. Look for options on natural gas vehicle engines and more stations coming to a neighborhood near you soon.
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