Natural Gas Use in Vehicles
Natural gas offers significant promise for use in some commercial vehicles. The required engine technology has matured, and refueling networks are expanding. Although likely to remain a specialty market, natural gas-fueled vehicles offer commercial operators numerous economic and environmental benefits.
Currently, natural gas fuels approximately 120,000 vehicles in the United States (less than 0.05% of the total vehicular fleet) and about 13 million vehicles worldwide. Use of such vehicles in the United States is expected to grow due to the domestic abundance and affordability of natural gas and its clean-burning qualities.
This growth will primarily be in specialized fleet applications that utilize centralized or strategically located refueling infrastructure. This emerging market, though small in volume compared to such major existing natural gas applications as home heating, electric power generation and commercial and industrial use, will substantially benefit fleet operators by providing lower-cost fueling options and diversifying their supply sources.
Natural gas further supports the nation’s transportation system by serving as an efficient, clean energy source for electric power generation plants that help produce the electricity to recharge all-electric and hybrid-electric cars.