Compressed natural gas (CNG) is a readily available alternative to gasoline that’s made by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. Consisting mostly of methane, CNG is odorless, colorless and tasteless. It’s drawn from domestically drilled natural gas wells.
As of 2010, natural gas powers more than 12 million vehicles on the road today. NGV Global is projecting that this will increase at least ten-fold, to 50 million vehicles by 2020.
Expanding the numbers of CNG fueling stations would allow for the increase of CNG vehicles on North American roads. There are 12,000 around the world and the number of stations in the world and North America will continue to expand to support natural gas vehicles (NGV) in the coming years.
As gasoline and diesel prices continue to rise, North American interest in CNG is increasing. CNG costs between 30 to 50% less than gasoline or diesel, and emits much lower emissions than gasoline. Additionally, it’s in abundant supply right here in North America. So it’s clean, affordable, and abundant.
Although CNG is flammable, it has a narrow flammability range, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, making it an inherently safe fuel. Strict safety standards make CNG vehicles as safe as gasoline-powered vehicles. In the event of a spill or accidental release, CNG poses no threat to land or water, as it is nontoxic. CNG also disperses rapidly, minimizing ignition risk when compared to gasoline. Natural gas is lighter than air and will not pool as a liquid or vapor.
Natural gas vehicles were first commercialized after World War II in Italy. Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) are a proven technology that have been enhanced and refined over the years into a convenient and extremely safe method of transportation.