12.01.2015
USA
Sector: CNG

Natural gas going mainstream in US

Analysts are increasingly outspoken in predicting natural gas may one day become what oil is today. While the glorious moment may still be away for some parts of the world, it's actually not that far for others, including the USA.
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With the shale gas and oil revolution in full swing, the US are becoming less and less dependent on imported fuels. So much so that a provision has been passed that will incentivise production of NGVs. The provision also highlights reduction of dependency on imported resources (as well as fossil fuels in general), greater energy security and diversification and encourages technological advances in energy storage.

Enactment of this bipartisan provision moves natural gas one step closer towards becoming a mainstream fuel for our everyday cars. Natural gas is an underutilized clean and abundant domestic energy resource for U.S. transportation in part due to outdated regulations.

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) and senior member of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee

Map of natural gas refueling stations in the USA© NGVAmericaGranted, the stations operating today are not sufficient given the country's vast area, but they're something for a start. And don't forget to add one for Alaska and one for Hawaii

Present-day American law is composed in such a way that it allows carmakers to earn credits for complying with the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program by producing dual-fuel vehicles running on alternative fuels. These credits are currently subject to a cap, so car manufacturers earn the majority of them through producing E85 (bioethanol with petrol mixture) Flex-Fuel vehicles, leaving none for natural gas vehicles. The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) provision introduces changes to the program by removing the credit cap for natural gas dual-fuel vehicles.

Does this mean natural gas in its compressed (CNG) and liquefied (LNG) form will become a mainstream transport fuel across the Atlantic anytime soon? Maybe not within months, but it's on the best possible way to get there within foreseeable future, probably 5-7 years. When you look at the map of natural gas refueling stations in the US, you'll clearly see much remains to be done, but on the other hand Americans aren't exactly starting from scratch and what they have already achieved is a good launchpad for future expansion. With the passage of the NDAA provision widespread adoption of natural gas should gain momentum in next to no time. So, who's next?



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Robert Markowski
source: United States Senate, NGVAmerica



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