SoCalGas - Natural Gas Vehicles – societal benefits
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Natural Gas Vehicles – societal benefits

Improving regional air quality

Clean burning NGVs have many positive environmental benefits for municipalities, states, and the global community as a whole. Switching from gasoline or diesel to CNG is a major step toward cleaner air.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Public awareness and concern about global warming and the creation of greenhouse gases has increased dramatically in recent years. Fortunately, use of CNG in place of gasoline or diesel has a very positive impact on reduction of greenhouse gases as well as a multitude of other environmental benefits.

A 2008 "well to wheels" analysis (pdf)* conducted by TIAX, LLC concludes that natural gas offers up to a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for light-duty vehicles, and as much as a 23% reduction for medium-to-heavy-duty vehicles, when compared with gasoline and diesel. The chart below shows the amount of C02 that has been displaced since 1999 by Southern California Gas Company customers using vehicles powered by CNG instead of diesel. In 2008 alone, that number was almost 229,000 metric tons of C02!

Bar graph shows CO2 displaced each year by SoCalGas customers switching from Diesel to CNG.

Encouraging renewables

Renewable energy has become one of the hottest topics in the energy industry today. While most natural gas is technically considered to be a fossil fuel, recent projects have demonstrated that natural gas can also be produced from agricultural waste, landfills and other sources. Biogas or biomethane is not only renewable energy, but the capture of this methane also helps reduce greenhouse gases as well. The California NGV Coalition reports that biomethane is the lowest carbon fuel available.* NGVAmerica has also produced an excellent fact sheet on this topic.

Pathway to hydrogen

NGVs represent a proven technology that is available right now. The existing public refueling infrastructure in southern California is robust and growing all the time.

It is possible that hydrogen may become the primary fuel for transportation in the U.S. at some point in the future, but use of CNG for transportation now helps create a bridge to a hydrogen future. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Lab,* "...advancing gaseous fuel technology today can aid the transition to a future transportation network based on hydrogen fuel cells." Natural gas from existing pipelines is already the leading fuel feedstock in the production of hydrogen.

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Updated 1/2013

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