How Can We Use Natural Gas In Cars?

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“At least for some time, compared to plug-in vehicle batteries, CNG storage offers lower weight, higher energy storage and lower costs—as well as faster refueling/recharging.” And while CNG vehicles would generate emissions from their tailpipes, the Argonne team believes that their overall emissions footprint would be smaller than that of an electric vehicle drawing power from the fossil-fuel-based electric grid.

But to Duoba the appeal of CNG is more about reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil sources than on saving the planet. “Various technologies have been successful at reducing the environmental impact (criteria pollution) over the decades,” Duoba wrote. “To the extent that consumption of foreign petroleum has not been reduced to acceptable levels, this could be viewed as the principal motivation.”

But CNG faces the same major hurdle to becoming widely accepted as any other challenger to gasoline as king of the road: a lack of refueling stations. Whatever does finally unseat gasoline will no doubt have to have a system for refueling that rivals the convenience we’ve come to expect from our corner gas stations.

CONTACTS: Argonne Center

EarthTalk is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E The Environmental Magazine ( Send questions to: Subscribe:; Free Trial Issue: Pollution of environment by combustible gas of a car image from BigStock.

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  1. I think that once more car manufacturers produce CNG models, the refueling stations will follow. There are a lot of major companies switching their fleets to CNG, so that should help to encourage new stations as well.

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