Natural gas cars: A look under the hood

With U.S. natural gas production booming, and the price of natural gas right now lower than the price of gasoline or diesel fuel, some are asking: Why don’t more of our cars run on natural gas?

Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles – the most common type of natural gas vehicle – have been around for decades. Today, natural gas accounts for about 2 percent of U.S. demand for transportation fuel, with most of that demand coming from fleet vehicles like buses and taxis.

Looking forward, we do see opportunities for natural gas to make an increasingly important contribution to U.S. transportation when it comes to certain fleet uses; I will talk more about this later. But for average consumers, there are a number of challenges that limit the widespread adoption of natural gas vehicles. These include:

  • Vehicle cost. CNG vehicles are nearly 25 percent more expensive than conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles and nearly 10 percent more expensive than hybrids, based on equivalent models. For example, a CNG-powered passenger car available in the United States costs about $5,600 more than a similarly equipped conventional model, and a CNG-powered 18- wheeler costs an additional $60,000. Even with today’s low natural gas prices, it would take years for motorists to recoup these extra costs.
  • Infrastructure cost. For American motorists to fuel up on CNG as easily as they do today on gasoline and diesel, the U.S. would need to build an entirely new network of pipelines and service stations to accommodate high-pressure fueling. In a 2010 study, IHS-CERA estimated it would cost between $8 and $12 billion to have CNG facilities installed in just 10 percent of existing U.S. fueling stations. A single CNG station costs anywhere from $300,000 to $3 million more than a regular gas station.

Obviously, these two challenges are economic, and you’ve likely heard some supporters of CNG vehicles advocate for taxpayer subsidies and government support to overcome them. But other challenges to CNG as at transportation fuel are performance-related. For example:

  • Energy density. Just as foods like nuts and granola bars are popular with hikers because they pack a lot of calories into a small, light package, gasoline and diesel are popular with drivers because they are the fuels with the highest energy density. CNG has relatively low energy density; it contains nearly 70 percent less energy per gallon equivalent than gasoline or diesel. As a result, CNG vehicles pack less horsepower.
  • Frequency and duration of fill-ups. The lower energy density of CNG also means that drivers will have to fill their tanks more frequently to go the same distance. For example, you would have to fill a CNG-fueled passenger car about 1.7 times to go the same distance as its gasoline-powered equivalent. Refueling a CNG vehicle also takes longer – about twice as long as a standard passenger vehicle.
  • Cargo space. Because of CNG’s lower energy density – and its need to be kept under very high pressure – CNG vehicles are equipped with large, heavy fuel tanks (200 pounds versus 10 pounds for gasoline). These tanks reduce a car’s fuel economy and its cargo capacity. CNG-powered passenger vehicles currently have about half the cargo space of their conventional equivalents.

Given all these factors, where might natural gas-powered vehicles play a role? One important application for CNG vehicles is for commercial and municipal fleets with limited driving distances. For these vehicles, CNG can make economic sense because they can benefit from shared refueling locations and infrastructure costs. According to the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, buses account for more than 60 percent of all natural gas vehicles in the world.

We also are beginning to see expanded interest in the use of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a vehicle fuel for commercial trucks in the United States. LNG, which is natural gas super-cooled to its liquid form, has a much higher energy density than CNG.

Demand for fuel for trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles exerts a strong influence on U.S. transportation trends. Today, these vehicles — which are generally tied to commercial activity — account for about 20 percent of total U.S. demand for transportation fuels; by 2040, they will account for about 30 percent.

ExxonMobil supports the market-driven use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel. But a government push to subsidize or mandate the expanded use of natural gas in the transportation sector is a wrong turn.

National energy goals in the transportation sector – such as reducing Americans’ transportation costs and strengthening U.S. energy security – are better (and more economically) met through other methods, such as the expanded use of hybrid vehicles or improved fuel efficiency in conventional vehicles. This is, in fact, what we expect to happen. ExxonMobil’s Outlook for Energy projects that the average new car on U.S. roads in 2040 in will get 45 miles per gallon, compared to 22 MPG today, with hybrids and efficiency accounting for most of that improvement.

Like any fuel or technology, natural gas should compete with other transportation fuels on a level playing field – not one distorted by governments trying to pick which fuels and technologies will ultimately be the most successful. In this way, the nation’s energy needs are met at the lowest possible cost to consumers and taxpayers.


132 Comments

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  1. Richard Baty says:

    Compressed Natural Gas NOT the way to go — Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) makes much more sense — the technology has been around for a long time and I will bet that in the next few years that COAL to Liquid will be the main competetior to LNG. Infrastructure will not have to be changed.

  2. Daniel Powell says:

    This article is so biased it’s pathetic. If a CNG Honda Civc 1.8L gets 28 combined MPG and the Gas version gets 29 combined MPG, then CNG is 96.55% as efficient as Gasoline as a transportation fuel.

    MPG from transportation fuel cannot be based only on BTU of the fuel, Octane rating plays a major part. CNG is 120 Octane while we only get upto 93 octane on the best pump gas.

    It is proven that:
    CNG gets 96.55% MPG that gasoline does in a purpose built engine. (see above)

    While CNG gets nearly the same MPG, it also only produces 65.79% of the heat that gasoline does (75,000 BTU per GGE for CNG vs. 114,000 BTU per gallon gasoline)

    CNG also burns much cleaner than gasoline.

    • mac gardner says:

      Thanks for your post Daniel. I thought there was some bias in the article myself. I read that Exxon does not support government subsidies for CNG. I wonder what their position is on eliminating the $80 billion or so subsidies and tax breaks that Big oil enjoys, which would allow us to redirect the money to alternative fuel development. In 2010, the energy bill was about to pass in the senate when Sen, Mitch McConnell filibustered the bill which had 59 senators voting in favor, and 85 percent public support. Not surprisingly, the big oil lobby had just dropped nearly $500,000 into his campaign kitty, and big oil will do anything, spend any amount of money to block competition from gaining a foothold on their forever held monopoly. In Caracas, Venezuela today, gasoline is selling for $0.11 per gallon. CNG is selling for $0.78 per gallon about 3 miles from my house according to a map on the Internet which lists fill sites in Oklahoma. The highest price I’ve seen here is well under $2.00 per gallon equivalent. According to Exxon’s chairman on Meet the Press about 3 months ago, at least 40 percent of the price of oil is due to speculation and manipulation. So, without manipulation, we should be paying around $2.00 per gallon for gasoline, but since this is a presidential election year, the oil companies have an interest in seeing republicans win the fall election. The oil monopoly gives 85 percent of PAC money to republicans. The refining Koch brothers, who will lose billions if the country switches to natural gas transportation, gives 100 percent to republicans, clear down to the level of school board elections. In the Koch’s efforts to wipe labor… read more »

      …unions off the map, they “contributed” about a million dollars to a shill candidate for a North Carolina school board seat. Fortunately, their water boy lost by 17 points. In Wisconsin, their pet governor, Scott Walker, is in danger of being recalled, and the Kochs have kicked in millions to try to keep him in place. However, Walker is the subject of a criminal investigation and this isn’t the first time. Walker was indicted for medicaid fraud a few years ago but beat the charges. The same was true for Florida Governor Rick Scott. Exxon is poised to move into natural gas fuels, but they don’t really want to because natural gas is below cost of production and Exxon and the oil cartel can’t manipulate the price of natural gas. Oil costs about $3 per barrel lifted in Saudi Arabia, and according to Sandridge Energy chairman Tom Ward, they are producing oil in Oklahoma for $6.50 per barrel, yet we are told that the “wholesale price” of unrefined oil is $104.00. Why is that? .In 2000, gas was selling for $0.79 in the spring, but before the election doubled to nearly $2.00 whihc helped oilmen Bush and Cheney. We were told there was a shortage. My then next door neighbor was a senior accountant at a local oil refinery and when I asked him about the shortage, he almost fell over laughting, telling me “There is no shortage. Every tank farm in the US is full. We have tankers lined up off of Houston in the gulf which have been sitting there for weeks because there is no place to put any more oil.” It was a manipulated shortage designed to help republicans, especially Bush and Cheney, and I suspect the same thing is happening now. The republican politicians pockets are almost all lined with oil money, and they will vote as they are told, and they aren’t going to question why, when gasoline goes to $5.50 per gallon or more why it is happening. It ould be biting the hand that feeds them.

      • Ron Rounda says:

        @mac – crikey – Exxon has no axe to grind – they are the biggest natgas producers in the US – if CNG made economic sense in passenger vehicles, it would have been done with, or without, Exxon’s help.

        The facts are passenger vehicles are unsuited to CNG – too prohibitive when full cycle costs are included as this article tried to point out. But CNG is suitable for fleet vehicles in niche markets – and continues to see increased adoption, albeit from low levels.

        The future is to use natgas for baseload generation and distribute energy via the ubiquitous electrical grid to power EVs or hybrids. If we simply switch from coal to natgas, we single-handedly cut vast amounts of pollution (NOx, heavy metals, ash) and cut CO2 emissions dramatically (CO2 is not a pollutant). And we’d save BIG money doing so – instead of the absurd “green” proposals that cost taxpayers hundreds of billions/trillions additional monies.

        • thomas klein says:

          Bull , I Crunch these numbers all day, I guy running 3 trucks 20k per year getting 15 mpg is paying $1250 per month in gasoline, same guy running those trucks on CNG, after accounting for the lease on the compressor, the lease on the conversions, and the price of the raw Nat gas and electricity, will pay $562 on a 6 yer lease with a dollar buy out. Money talks and bull@&$t walks.

      • Jeff Bonner says:

        I’d like to echo the mssg from Ron Rounda. Exxon has no axe to grind. They benefit more than anyone from a boost in the price of Natural Gas. They just don’t want the government to cause it. Maybe it’s because they understand that when the government has created every bubble from Waterloo to Wall Street.

        • Ronald Wagner says:

          Exxon has suppressed natural gas for thirty years. They knew they could get it, but lied to congress and thwarted natural gas vehicles. Info is in the GET the Great Energy Transition. Free video. See at the top of my list. http://ronwagnersrants.blogspot.com Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty, dangerous, expensive coal and nuclear plants. It is producing the electricity for electric cars. It will directly fuel cars,pickup trucks, vans, buses, long haul trucks, dump trucks, locomotives, aircraft, ships etc. It will keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It is reducing CO2 emissions. Here are over 1,600 recent links for you:
          NbaKYme3bqOw0b6KMxXSjOLHLNeflalPy9gIAiTYhttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1FMQ/edit

        • thomas klein says:

          Is that why they bought out CARB so its illegal to convert your car or truck to Nat gas in CA without a $350,000 fee paid to CARB. Get real, their oil men, they sell oil, which makes gasoline, wake up and smell the money.

      • Mike Swaim says:

        You Dems need to start detailing these $80 billion of subsidies. I’m a tax CPA and I am unaware of any of these special deals for Big-oil. I am aware of a number of tax breaks for small producers that Big-oil doesn’t get. I am aware of a number of tax breaks that apply to almost every business except Big-Oil. But, I am unaware of any breaks that only apply to Big-Oil.

      • Ronald Wagner says:

        Thanks for your comment. Politicians should get behind cheap, clean natural gas. You can still burn gasoline or diesel if you wish. Vehicles can easily, and cheaply be made bifuel or trifuel as they are in South America. Fortunately this is starting now.
        CNG and LNG can moderate the price of gasoline and diesel.

    • Dr Duude says:

      Daniel:
      Taken from Honda motor’s own website, their 2012 Honda Civic natural gas vehicle advertises 27 city, 38 highway with a suggested price of $26,305 while the 2012 Honda Civic coupe advertises 28 city, 29 highway with a suggested price of $15755. Its the price difference that may make it nearly impossible to recoup especially since another Obama term will almost certainly include a new ban on natural gas fracking.

      • Dr Duude says:

        Error: meant to type 39 highway on the Civic coupe.

      • Ron Rounda says:

        Exactly. You pay big premium to get lower mileage, far lower range, see almost all your trunk space filled up with a big, heavy tank that then causes worse handling. Plus you suffer 30% lower horsepower and torque. The average driver never sees payout before the car is scrapped – as such, a total waste of money, time and effort.

        • thomas klein says:

          I convert cars for a living, you couldn’t be more wrong, you want to delude yourself go on, but on most of our installs we see less than a 5% difference in performance gasoline to CNG, and on a pickup or full size van, space is NOT an issue, in a truck, the tank goes in the bed, on a van, underneath, as for your weight contention, a 24.5 GGE carbon fiber tank weighs 136 pounds empty, and CNG weighs 5.5 pounds per gallon, so that’s 268 pounds TOTAL, on a pickup truck, that’s NOTHING. Your grabbing at straws.

      • Ronald Wagner says:

        Obama is actually supporting natural gas vehicles and fracking. The DOE has made several important grants to design inexpensive tanks, home pumps etc. Look it up in my links or on the DOE website. Or do a search.

      • thomas klein says:

        Your not comparing apples to apples, the $15755 is for a DX model, Honda’s lowest trim level, the $26,305 of the CNG model Is closer to the EX, and comes with NAV, in short the difference is about six grand, and Honda was giving a three grand CNG gas card with every purchase good at Clean Energy stations, that is in essence, three years free fuel for the average driver.

    • Ron Rounda says:

      @Daniel – you must have flunked basic critical thinking.

      Mileage isn’t the be-all and end-all to compare CNG vs conventional gasoline. The Honda has 30% less horsepower and 30% less torque and sees lower mileage with worse handling and half the cargo space of the equivalent gasoline Honda. Thus, to compare “apples to apples”, you have to install a 30% bigger engine and build a bigger car to get the same utility as the conventional gasoline powered Honda. Then talk to us how CNG gets “nearly the same MPG” as gasoline…

      Thanks for the laugh about how CNG “only” produces 65.79% of the heat (ie energy) of gasoline – you shoot your ill-informed arguments about CNG in the foot without even knowing it. Such delicious irony, but with your woefully ill-informed comments, not in the least surprising.

      • gary jeror says:

        I suppose you drive. I do and I get a kick out of it, I watch these jack rabbit starts at red lights, people doing 55 60 or more in a 45MPH what do we need more power for. CNG pollutes less. I had a friend who bought a van that had been converted by the city and when it got so many miles they sold it. He ran it and changed the oil every 15-20,000 miles and it was cleaner than the oil in my car after 500 miles. He ran it for over 10 years and had well over 500,000 miles on it before it was wrecked. He said it was the cheapest and cleanest (motor wise) vehicle he ever had. Of course he was a mechanic so I guess he didn’t know anything about engines. Keep letting Exxon make their 12 billion in 3 months, they know what is best for us.

      • thomas klein says:

        Ron your the one that’s talking Ill-informed, I drive both a gasoline powered vehicle, a diesel vehicle, ans a CNG powered vehicle on a daily basis. CNG burns HOTTER than gasoline or diesel, NOT cooler, and there is exactly the SAME amount of energy in a GGE of natural gas as a gallon of gasoline, hence the name (Gas Gallon Equivilent) Yes the tanks on CNG vehicles are bulkier than gasoline vehicles, but that’s about the only drawback. In pickups and full size vans that’s not a big problem. As for cars, trunk space in Hybrids is also smaller due to the battery intrusion.

    • Bruce Poppe says:

      Daniel, you are mistaken about the mileage that the Honda Civic CNG model gets.

      The mileage that you have accurately quoted from the Honda website has a footnote. If yoiu follow that footnote to the greenercars.org website, here’s what you find:

      “Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle fuel economy given in gasoline-equivalent miles per gallon.”

      What this means is that there’s a conversion factor applied to the data, to make it equivalent. When ExxonMobil says that the energy density of CNG is lower, they’re right. You would have to carry a lot more volume of CNG to go the same distance as on gasoline.

    • Dave Hanna says:

      Thanks for the post, Daniel. Most of all, I love how the relative cost of the fuel is not even mentioned. CNG is 1/10th the cost of gasoline when the MPG and efficiencies are reconciled.
      That means at current market pricing, Exxon would be delivering an equivalent product at a wholesale level for less than 30 cents (1/10 of the $3.00 they get for crude at a refinery) and it means their gross revenues will decline in unison with this. As mac says below, even now, with very limited demand and facilities for fueling, the cost is less than half of the equivalent gasoline.
      CNG is the prefect transition fuel to straddle the gap between refined gasoline and alternative energies.
      Environmental groups need to take a step back and consider this as an acceptable path to energy self sufficiency and a dramatic drop in the use of fossil fuels world wide.
      This energy source is widespread, works well in developing countries and is far less stressful on both economic and environmental levels.
      The technology for delivery, storage and the end use all exist and are scalable. It is time to get smart about this. Both electricity and natural gas are widely distributed into American homes. No reason why a slower delivery/fueling system can’t be in many households.

    • thomas klein says:

      Not only that, by running a mixture of diesel and CNG, one can get the benefits of both fuels positives, and NONE of the negitives. Diesel has the highest BTU count, but a low octane rating, and the Diesel engine is already efficient since its a high compression engine, and diesel fuel has luberacating properties, add CNG in a 50% blend and you have a powerful AND hot explosion, that burns completely, with no soot or particulates, on a TDI VW jetta, one goes from 45 MPG to 65 MPG with a 20% increase in torque and horsepower. I guess Exxon didn’t want us to know that.

    • Brad Thiessen says:

      Excellent points Daniel! I have to chime in because recently built and opened a CNG station in Longview, TX.
      One of the points the author stays away from is the ROI on the vast majority of CNG vehicles currently on the road, pickups. If you look at the fuel economy of the all of the Big 3′s 3/4 ton trucks, you will find they are getting 15.5 to 17 MPGGE. The ROI on these trucks at current savings is less than 90K miles. While that may be a lot of miles for the average family driver, most of these are work trucks which achieve ROI in 12-18 months…. And the vehicles retain 80+% of the value of the CNG addition upon resale. I also need to say the type 4 tanks being used in these trucks are no heavier than the “10 lb gas tank” with 28 gallons of gasoline in them.
      Finally, we are building the next generation of CNG station (here comes the pitch). Our stations are built to produce and dispense fuel at rates as fast or faster than our gasoline counterparts. The average fill time for a 17-18 GGE fill up at my station is less than 4 minutes from handle lift to nozzle hang-up. And we can fill 2 pickups and 2 heavy trucks at a time! http://Www.ifsfuel.com

  3. fred zausner says:

    Why can’t we get natural gas directly from the home rather than building a network of stations?

    • Ronald Wagner says:

      You can. The pumps cost from $ 4,000 up. See cngnow.com and cngchat.com.

      • mac gardner says:

        The same pump was advertised for $2,000 years ago. I’ll bet a guy in a chicken coop in Arkansas could build a home compressor unit for $200 or less.

        • Bruce Poppe says:

          Mac, when the guy in the chicken coop builds his home compressor, I’m not going to buy one. You may find the remains of his house sitting next to some NASA equipment on the moon.

        • thomas klein says:

          3600 psi with a coalescing filter to get every bit of water out. I doubt it, the filter alone costs, $138 dollars, that leaves you $62 to build your compressor, and oh BTW, the 3hp motor has to be explosion proof, as per NFPA-52 guild lines , least expensive thats made is by Baldor, and costs $1200. Would you like to try again?

        • mike mayer says:

          Thats what we did during the oil crisis of the 1970`s on most farms and ranches. seemed to work fine

        • thomas klein says:

          Good luck with that NFPA52 requires an explosion proof electric motor to power it, and they run over $200 from the manufacturer just for the motor. Remember, your dealing with HIGH pressure, 3,600 psi, that’s 248 BAR, enough pressure to cut a man in two, in less than a second if not respected properly. This isn’t some dinky dink air compressor W 300 psi, it has to be built VERY robust. If the can get it down to $3,300 it will be an accomplishment.

    • Ronald Wagner says:

      Good point. There is a DOE grant to General Electric to design a tank for $500. GE is jumping on the natural gas infrastructure bandwagon. It is all in my links, or do a search.

      http://ronwagnersrants.blogspot.com Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty, dangerous, expensive coal and nuclear plants. It is producing the electricity for electric cars. It will directly fuel cars,pickup trucks, vans, buses, long haul trucks, dump trucks, locomotives, aircraft, ships etc. It will keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It is reducing CO2 emissions. Here are over 1,600 recent links for you:
      NbaKYme3bqOw0b6KMxXSjOLHLNeflalPy9gIAiTYhttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1FMQ/edit

  4. Ronald Wagner says:

    This article greatly inflates the cost of compressed natural gas vehicles. It does not even mention conversions from gasoline vehicles to CNG or CNG/gasoline switchable vehicles. Check youtube.com for examples of how a vehicle can be switched to CNG/gasoline for as little as $1,000. I am pretty sure that Exxon Mobile wants us to keep buying gasoline, but knows it cannot fool the trucking companies for long.

    • mac gardner says:

      After sen McConnell got his $500,000 “contribution” and blocked the energy bill a couple of years ago, Chesapeake and two other gas producers finally decided to help Clean Energy fuels build out the natural gas superhighway by kicking in $150 million each to fund construction of 450 fuel stations at existing Pilot and flying J truck stops. They are going up now and Clean Energy is building about 75 of them this year. All McConnell did was delay the inevitable, but if he hadn’t, we would be paying less than $2.00 per gallon for gasoline today, because the oil giants and the Koch brothers aren’t going to stand idly by and see their monopoly evaporate because they kept gas prices at $4.00 per gallon. If these big companies keep robbing Americans blind BECAUSE they can, just like the “health care” mafia, the drug pushers (pharma companies) and many others.

      • gary jeror says:

        A few more people need to open their eyes and see what is going on. All these companies you mentioned make millions and billions a year but are not satisfied they want more and a lot of the American people want the govt to step in and stop then, but when the govt steps in and they then start yelling they are try to control us. You just can’t satisfy idiots.

    • David Deal says:

      I have been investigating dedicated CNG vehicles like the Civic and bi fuel (CNG/gasoline) vehicles. First and foremost if you want truck space for more than 2 bags of groceries the Civic is not for you. If you plan to use as a 2 person vehicle and put luggage in the back seat or 4 person with no luggage then it is a viable vehicle. Second on the conversion cost you mention above of $1000. I am sure you can find someone to do the conversion for a low price. I will not drive a vehicle converted so cheaply. The going rate for a proper engineered and certified conversion is anywhere from $8500-$11,000. There are numerous calculators on the internet that will calculate your breakeven point. In most cases it is around 80,000 miles. Please do not tout a $1000 conversion. A properly engineered tank costs more than that. When people get hurt with their $1000 conversion it will damage the reputation of CNG and Bi Fuel vehicles. Oh, if you are going to blog, please ensure you know how to spell ExxonMobil. Mobile is a city in Alabama.

  5. NotMy RealName says:

    How long do you expect CNG) vehicles to be travel freely and not be at a loss for sufficient finding stations especially when traveling across country?

    • mac gardner says:

      The stations are going up all over the country now, despite Mitch McConnell;s filibuster. Chesapeake and two other gas producers are fronting $450 million to build the stations right now. McConnell just played his water boy role, doing all he could to delay the conversion to CNG on the nations highways.
      the oil companies are going to lose the diesel fuel business, and if they don’t get the price back down, they will lose the retail mom an drop customers as well.

  6. Hafeez Muneer says:

    IUSA can spend billions and billions of $ on wars and building and rebuilding other countries that have oil or no oil, than why not spend same $$ to build our own country with CNG infra structure.

    • Ronald Wagner says:

      Excellent point! More Americans are becoming aware of this foolishness, and wondering why we are dying for , and going broke fort the oil companies. I believe natural gas is the fuel of the future. We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas.

      • gary jeror says:

        According to many oil reports in about 4-5yrs we will be out producing Saudi Arabia in oil. Of course we will also be shipping a lot more out of this country. We could be the leading producer on natural gas and Oil before the end of the decade. The big companies can get more money overseas they will send it there just like they have sent so many jobs over the years. The American people will be scr*wed again.

  7. Craig Dickson says:

    Does ExxonMobil not benefit greatly from the US military protection of the global oil market (ie. subsidy)? Would not those military costs diminish drastically if the US was using domestic fuel rather than imported fuel?

    I use $1.49 natural gas in my Honda Civic & Chevy Tahoe in Tulsa, OK while my fellow citizens are paying $4 + taxes for military protection of imported oil. Seems that ExxonMobil is just obstructing rather than providing solutions.

    • Noel Ingle says:

      My nephew is only paying 72¢ per gallon for CNG in Indianapolis. I pay $1.50 in Utah. Cost to adapt each car for CNG was only $1500. Folks ask about my MPG on domestic CNG. I tell them I get zero military lives per gallon.

    • Ronald Wagner says:

      Please join cngchat.com. What are other Oklahomans saying about converting. Is the snowball going down the hill?

    • David Deal says:

      Check the facts. ExxonMobil is largest single producer of natural gas in the US. They would love for domestic natural gas usage to increase thereby driving up the price. At the same time ExxonMobil would reduce their exposure to the unpredictability of foreign governments where they produce oil. Increasing natural gas usage in the US would be viewed as a positive by ExxonMobil.

      • thomas klein says:

        Year sure, if that were the case, we would sell CNG at all their stations, heck, they burn Nat gas off as a waste product in 70% of their fields, WAKE UP.
        They pay their bills with Gasoline profits, and CNG is far cheaper, which means less profit

  8. mac gardner says:

    The cost to convert a big rig truck with a brand new engine is now down to a little over $20,000 for fleets, according to Westport’s website. A trucker can save over $1,000 per week by converting, so it won’t take long to recover the cost. The government should make low interest loans available to the trucking industry to speed up the process. Then the oil o=companies can just load up the tankers on the gulf coast and ship the oil to China from the Keystone pipeline, They can make hundreds of billions per year exporting oil, and Americans can save hundreds of billions by running clean burning CNG.

    • Ronald Wagner says:

      China says it has twice as much natural gas potential as we do, with fracking technology. They are now hiring the frackers. Russia also has natural gas, but wants to keep oil prices high. It cost $60,000 more to buy a new LNG truck with a Westport engine. The conversions sound like the way to go.

      • gary jeror says:

        What is the difference between a fork lift (toe motor) set up and a car? All the fork lifts at work use CNG. They don’t pay 30 or 40,000 dollars for these things. When we get low on gas we switch tanks out and other people go fill them after so many have been used. We run these things on 5 gallon tanks all day if you put a fresh one on in the morning. They have 4 cylinders, why cant these be put in small cars. Of course ours have governors on them or some of our drivers would blow them up, they run them with put the peddle to the metal attitude.

  9. Dean Hough says:

    While this article is biased in a number of ways, especially with the inflated cost of a CNG station being up to $3 M more expensive than a regular gas station (if made out of solid gold maybe?), the article is largely accurate. CNG is a tough sell due to the infrastructure issues and the economics to recoup the additional vehicle costs. Hybrids have the same economic difficulty, as long as gas is around $4 per gallon. Once gas is north of $5 per gallon, suddenly the economics begin to make more sense.

    Strange manipulation of facts to suit Exon’s bias. Yes, energy density is much lower with CNG at 70% less, hence the reduced range and tank issues. But in terms of power generated by an engine, it’s only slightly less than a traditional gasoline engine. Once gasoline is vaporized by the car/injectors, the energy density of the fuel air mixture entering a cylinder has about the same energy density as traditional gasoline. The power generated by a CNG engine will be slightly lower but not enough to lose sleep over unless you’re a NASCAR driver or you drive a rail at the drag strip.

    The significantly lower pollution due to cleaner burning and the domestic sources of CNG versus imported oil are significant benefits that make CNG increasingly compelling.

    • Ronald Wagner says:

      You can fill up at home with a newly designed $5,000 hydraulic pump system. See specs at cngnow.com .youtube.com shows how you can convert a car from $1,000 on up. Bigger tanks cost more. Vans and trucks benefit most because they have more room for tanks. Volkswagen has CNG vans in Europe, that are switchable to gasoline, as any conversion can be if desired. This is all tried and true technology, but needs a knowlegable installer.

  10. Ed A says:

    4 months ago I visited Armenia where 95% of the cars personal or business including public transportation syspems are operated by natural gas. Taxi driver showed me the aftermarket system installed on his Mercedes E320. He had a button in the car that automatically switches between gasoline and natural gas. He told me that it is very safe if properly installed and it’s about 75% less expencive than the gasoline.
    Filling up the Natural gas takes the same time and the same process as filling up regular gasoline.
    We do have this technology here in US, look at some City Buses.. They run on Natural Gas.
    We should have all of our vehicles run on natural gas, it’s cleaner than the oil. Less pollution, Abundant gas reserves in US and its cheaper.

  11. Wiley Cayote says:

    For a realistic preview of what natural gas as a transportation fuel could look like in the US, just look at Australia, where LNG is an accepted mainstream transportation fuel. Both Ford and GM (Holden) produce vehicles in-house built to run exclusively on LNG, and if one believes the motor magazines, the latest LNG models, particularly the Ford Falcon with liquid-phase injection, have performance that is equivalent to comparable gasoline-only models.

    The Ford Falcon won the Best Large Car Under $60,000 award in 2011, and here is what was written for the award announcement:
    “The EcoLPi engine develops 198 kW of power at 5000 rpm and 409 Nm of torque at 3250 rpm, which is identical to the petrol I6 engine when operating on higher octane 95 RON unleaded fuel (versus regular 91 RON unleaded).”

    New 2012 GM/Holden Commodore articles
    http://www.caradvice.com.au/159889/holden-lpg-commodore-review/
    http://www.caradvice.com.au/159790/holden-lpg-commodore-range-unveiled/
    http://media.gm.com/media/au/en/holden/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/au/en/2012/Feb/0221_Holden_LPG_Commodore_Australian_Solutions

    Most taxis in Australia run on LNG, which on older vehicles and the Commodore is turned into a gas and mixed with incoming air. I read somewhere that 3,000 filling stations carry the fuel in Australia, meaning drivers of LNG-only vehicles effectively do not have to worry about where the next tankful of fuel will come from, because it is available everywhere.

    Like the US, Australia has huge reserves of natural gas, but unlike the US, the Aussies are actually utilizing it for powering significant numbers of passenger vehicles. If a continental country of under 30 million can put infrastructure in place for natural gas usage in vehicles, why can’t the US, with over 300 million?

    • Troll Feeder says:

      What is the boil-off rate for a passenger car sized LNG tank?

      What is your actual fuel economy when a measurable fraction of your fuel evaporates every time you park your car?

      And where do you park your car so that your garage / neighborhood doesn’t fill up with all that evaporating, nasty, flammable, green-house methane gas?

      What happens when the tank is breached in a wreck, and -160 Celsius liquid splashes around?

      How does human skin react to -160 Celsius liquids?

      As the spilled liquid flashes to gas and expands by a factor of 600, what happens to the human lungs that suck in a big slug of the -160 Celsius gas?

      If I made an car that got 50 miles per dollar of concentrated Alien blood acid and produced fewer emissions than the Flintstone mobile, would that be a good idea, too?

      Would you vote to give me a bunch of taxpayer money to kickstart the entire industry and regulate its established competitors out of existence?

      What if I pinkie swear to spend your tax money as carefully as money I actually had to work for?

      • Troll Feeder says:

        Not to mention that the cars you link to run on LPG, not LNG.

        LPG is not the same thing as LNG. Really.

      • Don Lanier says:

        Building a tank thats spill proof and Explosion proof is not Impossible and the technology exists and is in use already, as more and more vehicles adopt LNG/CNG the cost will be lower and lower, I worked for a Fleet that used LNG many years ago and they NEVER had an issue with a Burst tank or damaged tank in several accidents and this was in the late 80s, Fuel cells and Tanks are now constructed to be self sealing, leakproof, and extremly durable. Actually you can find these technologies in use on THE BEAST the Presidential Limo

    • Norman Rogers says:

      You are mixing up CNG, LNG and LPG. LPG is a mixture of propone and butane and is an excellent fuel. It may be cheap in Australia, but not here. CNG is compressed natural gas (methane). LNG is methane liquified at extreme cold temperatures. It is not suitable for powering cars because it constantly must evaporate to keep cold.

    • Ronald Wagner says:

      Thank you!

  12. George Grey says:

    There are some good comments however there are some misconceptions expressed thus far:
    1) The BTU value of and equivalent gallon of CNG is 114,000 BTU, just like gasoline. This represents 126.67 cu.ft. with 900 BTU/ft3 LHV being used to convert. This is why the Honda MPG is so close to gasoline (the lower figure is due to added weight for the 3,000 psi CNG tank.
    2) If you think you can build a 5 stage compressor and 3,000 psi nozzle for your garage for $200, you are mistaken. The delivery pressure to your house is somewhere between 2 psi and 10 inches of water column. The other issue is that gas for home delivery is about double the wholesale cost, so you wouldn’t want to do it anyway.
    3) The current price of gas makes conversion attractive for fleets with common refueling locations. Conversion of more significant chunks of gasoline and diesel demand would surely change the price. Then, with all fuels at price parity, we would have overspent on infrastructure and we raised our cost for home heat and electricity peaking. The target should be a small percentage of demand, otherwise, natural gas gets short (remember Enron) and LNG imports become analogous to crude imports.

    • W Bostick says:

      Excellent point that was also missed in the source article. An equivalent gallon of NG has the same btu value as a gallon of gasoline thus the term “equivalent gallon” .

    • thomas klein says:

      Sorry, competition makes the price go DOWN, not up, look at OKC, Oklahoma, with over 75 stations, t he CNG price at the pump is around 95 cents, Utah also has good infrastructure and prices are around $1.10 average, else ware , the stations are few, and the fuel costs around $1.90 or more.s

  13. Greg Dunn says:

    A few points in the article are misleading:
    - A big reason CNG vehicles cost more is because so few are made. (There is only one CNG passenger car on the market: the Honda Civic GX.) As volume goes up, price comes down. If they become common, their price premium will be similar to diesels because they would require only modest changes to the engine and fuel systems.
    - Energy density (based on volume) is irrelevant. What matters is how much fuel (mass, not volume) you need. Specific energy (energy content per unit weight) is what actually matters. CNG has a specific energy 15% higher than gasoline, which means you can travel just as far with ~85 lb of CNG as you could with 100 lb of gasoline.
    - Very little new infrastructure is needed for CNG. Most homes have natural gas already. All that would be needed is a compressor and a safe location (e.g., ventilation) and consumers could refuel at home.
    - Govt absence from free markets is the laissez faire system we had 150 yrs ago. It’s great for the fabulously wealthy and large corporations, but it doesn’t work for everyone else, which is why we don’t have such a system anymore. Subsidies and fuel type mandates are only (poor) examples of how the govt can promote CNG. A far simpler method, and one that benefits the national economy, is to restrict imports of fuel. That shifts demand to domestic fuels, the most common being natural gas. It would also limit the trade deficit which keeps our dollars in our own economy instead of someone else’s (creates jobs here, reduces inflation, keeps interest rates low, etc.).

    The article is correct about large, fleet vehicles like buses, delivery trucks, garbage trucks, etc. CNG’s larger & heavier tank doesn’t affect these vehicles as much… read more »

    …as passenger cars. Since these applications make sense for CNG, there is nothing wrong with the govt responsibly encouraging their use.

    • George Grey says:

      Greg – while you are correct about the energy per pound of CNG vs gasoline, from a practical standpoint it is irrelevant if you need a tank to store the fuel that weighs more than the fuel itself. For example, hydrogen has double the energy density of methane, but an even higher pressure tank is required. (not to mention that it takes about as much energy to free hydogen from carbon as is contained in the hydrogen).

      • Troll Feeder says:

        Not to mention that you are now driving around on top of a large 3,000 plus psi pressure vessel.

        Which is guaranteed to explode if it is breached in a wreck.

        How many people who have ever dealt with middling high-pressure gases as a part of their work relish the idea of having to deal with them every time they have to refuel their cars?

        Or every time some high-school kid refuels at the next pump over?

        • Don Lanier says:

          The refilling process is safe and easy utilizing a Twist lock that WILL NOT pump until the seal is made, its not like a Gasoline pump which is far more dangerous, The Interlock has a safety feature to prevent over filling over pressurizing the tank, Its actually very safe.

        • Noel Ingle says:

          Guaranteed to explode? When was the last time you heard of a CNG vehicle exploding in a wreck? CNG tanks are crash and fire tested just like gasoline tanks. You talk about CNG like it is something new. It’s been used around the world for decades.

        • thomas klein says:

          Wrong, wrong, wrong, #1 there tested to 125 mph, try living thru a 125 mph crash in a gasoline car, #2 the gas won’t explode like gasoline because its lighter than air, escapes straight up, and the gas in the tank is pure gas, no oxygen, #3 it has a much higher flash point, over double that of gasoline, and the tank has a device called a PRD installed, to safely vent the gas in a accident or fire. How well does it work? We have only had ONE (1) Nat gas vehicle explosion in the last 10 years, how many people have died in car or truck fires in gasoline vehicles in the last 10 years? The numbers are in the thousands………

    • Troll Feeder says:

      There is no such thing as a safe location anywhere near a 3,000 psi compressor, supply hose, or storage vessel.

      But, by all means, let’s have the tax man put one in every garage in the country.

      • thomas klein says:

        Great name, troll feeder, you may want to learn something about CNG before you make stupid comments, CNG is far safer than gasoline, the pressure is actually a plus, because in order to have an explosion, you need three things, ignition source, oxygen, and fuel, but CNG needs an ignition source over 1000 degrees, and is under pressure, so there is no oxygen IN the cylinder, just gas, and since its lighter than air, and since in needs to be in concentrations mixed with air of between 5-15%, less than 5 and there’s not enough gas, more than 15 there’s not enough oxygen, its extremely rare to get a combustionable condition in an accident, and the actual stats bear this out, one (1) explosion in the last 10 years, how many gasoline explosions in the last 10 years?

  14. Bob Baldwin says:

    Because of the EPA rules here, the cost of conversions are way too high. The cost in Argentina and Peru is only $1200. Look at the auto sales websites in Pakistan and you will see only $400 difference between a new cng and gasoline car.

    • David Deal says:

      Yep you can convert cars cheaper in Pakistan. Go Google Natural Gas Vehicle Accidents and see how many fires/explosions/deaths there have been in Pakistan attributed to non tested/non certified tanks and improper installation. I am willing to pay more for a conversion I know has been properly engineered, constructed and installed.

      • thomas klein says:

        Granted, but it does not cost $12,000 to insure safety, and if its your contention that the EPA safety checks a EPA conversion, then your dead wrong. The EPA should certify the conversion system, and that certification fee should be good for ALL the models that system works on, and for all years, one fee, one time, not multiple fees, for multiple engines, and multiple vehicles, and multiple years. And it certainly shouldn’t cost $85,000 per year, per vehicle, per engine, and take 4 months, that’s insane.

      • thomas klein says:

        Not as many as gasoline, we have gasoline fires and explosions every day in this country and no one says boo, so spare us the CNG is dangerous bull.

  15. Fred Flinstone says:

    Investments in rubber research need to be made. In the Mesolithic period, we just wound up our rubber bands and we were good to go. We could travel for miles down the cities built on mountain tops. Stopping was tricky, though. We would go through many turtle shoes.

  16. Danny Jackson says:

    Sorry Exxon Mobil, this whole situation is the biggest joke on the American Public, too bad it isn’t funny
    After reading the comments, it seems that when it comes to the vehicle CNG/LNG tanks, everyone is thinking heavy steel tanks. We have composite tank technology that that weights half as much as steel and stronger than steel.
    And, of course this article is biased being “ExxonMobil’s Perspectives” In 1973 shortages, I vividly remember seeing “tankers” anchored off the California Coast, not able to off load due to the tank farms didn’t have room. And it will not get any better, until we refuse to bow to OPEC and rid the market of speculators. Until then, there’s no drive to develop new technology to move away from Crude Oil. When I was 12 years old, I seen a working carburetor made from a soup can that got 45-50 mpg, that’s only one example of what was kept from going to market, bought off by the Oil Companies.
    The American People need to realize that every time you turn on your TV and watch the “Discovery Channel”, where they’re building Indoor Ski Slopes in the Deserts, artificial Islands in the Ocean and Skyscraper so tall that you need supplemental Oxygen in the upper floors to survive, the American Public needs to remember, who is paying for all these Oases the Deserts of the Middle East. They have all to lose and……

  17. Don Lanier says:

    LNG Which will be the fuel of Truck Fleets very soon is a safe and efficient fuel and yields many favorable propertys, Oil Changes can be extended, Maintenance is extended, Wear and Dirt caused by Oil ond contaminants from Gasoline dont exist, Ive seen engines run on NG that had 300,000 miles on them LOOK BRAND NEW when torn down, Spark plugs last longer, and its just a far cleaner fuel. We need many more fueling stations and less Mitch McConnels in this country, Those that seek to protect the Monopolys and Saudi Arabias of this world will soon be bowing to LNG transportation Nationwide

  18. Neil Lynch says:

    Daniel, I agree with the other that perhaps you should do your homework before posting. You may want to start with CFR Part 86 of the Federal register.

    “MPGe” is not the same as “MPG”. CNG is measured using the “MPGe” or “Mile-Per-Gallon-equivalent”.

    The postings for “home refueling” had best let the kids grow up and move out first. Home installations will likely blow the house off the foundation. Of course, home insurance will probably have a clause soon to exclude coverage.

    Folks here seemed to have missed the physics of carrying CNG in the vehicle. The tanks are heavy, under pressure, and have “flammable” contents. Your current fuel tank is nested deep in your vehicle for protection. The DOT and NTSB will have “concerns” about how you protect the fuel system from accident. This is where most of the cost is.

    Accidents also pose a concern should the fuel system (IE a “line”) become breached. Fire departments will have very real concerns when approaching a CNG accident.

    Lastly, go looking on the Internet for the picture of the station wagon that was carrying a bottle of propane. While parked, the bottle leaked into the passenger compartment. It is believed the clock set it off.

    Like so much wishful thinking, the idea of CNG looks good until today’s generations learn the realities of why it was not adopted in the 1930′s. (It was adopted for pump jacks and irrigation pumps.)

    • Jack Nelson says:

      If you can, go to Holland, using natural gas since the mid 80′s, go to Brazil, using natural gas since early 2000′s, and find out how many accidents there have been. I did not hear of any for 7 years in Brazil.

    • W Bostick says:

      Don’t confuse propane and nat.gas. Propane is defenitely more dangerous than N.G.. Propane is heavier than air and sinks fo the lowest point where it can be easily ignited. N.G. is lighter and disperses upward into the atmosphere. Also you have to have a stoichiometric mixture to ignite. I’ve actually seen tracers fired into CNG tanks with on bad results.

  19. Cotton Mather says:

    “CNG has relatively low energy density; it contains nearly 70 percent less energy per gallon equivalent than gasoline or diesel. “

    This is kind of misleading, isn’t it? The industry standard is to define a “gallon equivalent” by energy content. So a “GGE”, which is the pricing unit for CNG, is equal to 125,000 btu’s, just like a gallon of gasoline. “Density” makes no sense in this content.

    If you are defining GGE as volume, then the point is made, except that CNG engines are specifically designed differently than gasoline engines to compensate for these differences.

  20. David Starke says:

    Isn’t methane very soluble in gasoline? Seems I remember that methane is stripped out of oil during refining. The solubility ought to be pretty good. In dissolving the methane, lower pressure tanks could be used. In comparison to methanol, methane is a superior fuel, higher energy density and no water solubility.
    I have not ever heard of anyone else suggesting this, but it just seems logical to me.

  21. Noel Ingle says:

    $300K to $3M more for a CNG station than an conventional gasoline station? That can’t possibly be true. CNG is used all over the third world. I use Questar CNG stations every day in Utah and I’ve seen the equipment. A CNG station owner in Indianapolis told me his station cost $500K.

    • W Bostick says:

      It all depends on how many vechicles you want to fuel in what time interval. Remember you are compressing NG to ~ 3600psi. If you want to fuel is a short time span you need a BIG compressor, probably multi stage, and that cost a lot of money.

  22. Jack Nelson says:

    Very interesting because when I lived in Brazil a “natural gas for vehicles” kit could be installed in an exsisting car for about $600. Then you could drive for half the cost of gasoline. And, diesel fuel was 3/4 the cost of gasoline. Yes the kit did reduce the cargo space, but when I used a car and driver to get where I needed to go, and return, they paid half of what I paid in a gasoline powered car, and I did not really notice much of a power loss at all. This article shows the oil companies, and the car makers just do not want to do it.

  23. Larry Smedley says:

    Exxon should be more supportive of natural gas for transportation … particularly for buses and trucks. We have the gas and the economics are favorable without subsidies. Use some advertising dollars to make this widely understood.

    A major failing of the Obama administration (there have been many) is the failure to promote the use of natural gas (no fossil fuel is green enough for his supporters).

  24. Alan Bros says:

    As usual,, a lot of numbers are thrown around to prove any particular person’s bias. I don’t claim to be an expert. However, my research leads me to believe that methanol, derived from natural gas, is a reasonable alternative to gasoline as well as ethanol, derived from corn. Ethanol causes corn prices to rise and this affects our cost of food. Methanol derived from nat gas can be stored in tanks, similar to gasoline and would not require any substantial change to distribution infrastructure. Combusting methanol also creates lower heat than gasoline and this would potentially allow for air cooled engines…lower cost than water cooled engines.Methanol also has significantly lower CO2 output than gas and higher octane. There also appears to be very little cost difference in fuel line parts required for methanol vs. gas.

  25. Tom Moore says:

    I own a Honda Civic GX and I can tell you I pay about 1/2 as much on gas. I bought it used 2008 model for 18K and now I pay less on gas and I can go in the carpool lane here in southern california. IF you live in SoCal, there are plenty of natural gas stations. And it does get about 28 miles per gallon equivalent. I love it! I don’t mind others not knowing about this and paying less than everyone else and being able to get home in half as much time every day. There is a distribution for natural gas already – it’s called your house. If the govt. subsidized the same amount they do on oil towards natural gas cars and systems to refuel at your house, we’d be independent from gasoline within 5 years. That’s the ONLY way we could be off gasoline that quickly… Oh and it burns clean – civic GX voted greenest car of the year 2011

    • Dean Parsons says:

      I own 2 CNG vehicles and would never go back to gasoline.
      CNG fuel here in Dallas is 1.89.9 a gge a fuel stations.
      One car is a 2011 Honda the other is a converted 2004 F150 Ford.
      I have read more mis-information here about CNG than a crooked politician can put out.
      As the other posters have pointed out, go to the CNG chat room for the truth about CNG.

  26. james Hollowell says:

    The writer appears to be a novice with the facts. I own a Civic CNG, and Civic non CNG. The CNG gets about identical MPG c/w gas Civic -mixed 35 mpg. The range for the CNG auto is about 250 miles. The range is reduced, not by the reduced energy content, but rather the 8.2 gal tank. The purchase price was a $5000 premium reduced by $1000 “rebate” 4 years ago. The fuel has varied from 64 cents to $2.00 per gallon equivalent over the 4 years. At 60,000 miles, it is well into the payoff, and the “green car of the year” again for 2012 per the Green Car Journal. The Civic CNG again beats the EVs due to the mixed sourcing of electricity (some coal, nat gas ,wind and solar etc.) For a large percentage of the population the infrastructure is in place. It is clear “political” suppression, CNG thwarts the “Green Agenda”, despite the Civic being the “Green car of the Year.”

  27. jason rucker says:

    wow, where do I start. my cng tank does not weigh 200 lbs. It is about 20 lbs and yes it does take up some cargo space. No big deal I use the back seat. Everyone is talking mpg. My CNG gets identical MPG on Gasoline or CNG. The big differance, CNG is $1.50 per gallon. I recouped the cost of vehicle in two years. And it is clean, clean, clean. I go 15,000 miles between oil changes

  28. Yj Draiman says:

    Electric cars are they conserving energy? Rev4

    Ask yourselves what is the real cost of “Electric Car”?

    Note: Electricity is a secondary form of energy derived by utilizing one form of energy to produce electric current.

    Let us look at the facts:

    In order to produce electricity, we need some form of energy to generate electricity, whereby you lose a substantial amount of your original source of energy in the generation process.
    In the process we are losing the efficiency of the initial energy source, since it is not a direct use of the energy.

    Let us take it a step further. To generate electricity we utilize; coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, hydro electric – water, photovoltaic-solar, wind, geothermal, etc. Many electricity generating plants utilize fossil fuel, which creates pollution.

    Do you realize how much of the initial source of energy you lose to get the electricity you need for your electric automobile; you also lose electricity in the transmission lines.

    Why are we jumping to a new technology, without analyzing the economic cost, the effective return and efficiency of such technology; while computing and measuring its affect on the environment?

    Natural gas vehicles are a direct source of energy, where you get the most for your energy source – in efficiency and monetary value. Cost of natural gas to a comparable gallon of gas ranges around $1, it has higher octane and extends the life of your engine, it is also safer than gas.

    In these hard economic times – I would think, you would want to get the most for your dollar – and not waste resources.

    Another economic impact would be the loss of road tax on fuel, these funds are used to build and maintain the highway infrastructure.

  29. W Bostick says:

    Also keep in mind that natural gas is a “renewable” in that methane from anerobic digesters using manure and food scraps can be processed to pipeline specs and injected into NG distribution lines and/or used as NG. Some progressive dairies are already transporting their milk with NG powered trucks.

    LNG is appealing but you do have to consider boil off of methane as it the methane goes below 95% you will expierience detonation and all its bad effects.

  30. Ronald Wagner says:

    Exxon has been fighting against natural gas as a vehicle fuel for thirty years. Too much money to be made with foreign oil. Many lives have been lost needlessly fighting over Middle Eastern oil. Trillions of U.S. money has been spent, greatly weakening our economy and skyrocketing our debt while we make unfriendly nations rich, and we go broke. Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty, dangerous, expensive coal and nuclear plants. It is producing the electricity for electric cars. It will directly fuel cars,pickup trucks, vans, buses, long haul trucks, dump trucks, locomotives, aircraft, ships etc. It will keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It is reducing CO2 emissions. Here are over 1200 recent links for you: NbaKYme3bqOw0b6KMxXSjOLHLNeflalPy9gIAiTYhttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1FMQ/edit

  31. chris H says:

    So most of us have natural gas in our homes right now so having it in the garage is not a big deal- in fact it is probably safer there than in your stove. the conversion costs 600-1200 depending on your carburator and fuel injection is less expensive to my surprise. Tanks cost 600 to 1000 each – I have mine in a luggage rack on the top of my car. I run a hybrid gas/CNG. I can go nearly 800 miles on both. The compressor I put in the rafter of my garage that I vented and and heavily insulated cost me 3000 from China and 200 in sound dampening(it is loud), vibration dampener, insulation, and a fan that runs when it does- although an electric pump shouldnt leak it helps with cooling the equipment. CNG is lighter than air much safer in an accident than a liquid. I have 4 tanks that cost me 2000 total that I have to get inspected every 3 years gives me a reliable range of 450 miles (460-480 I have run them out several times and switched to gas). I run tubing from my rack to my engine and have check valves installed on top of the ones that come with the kits. I pay 94 cents an equivelant gallon and can now drive from Colorado to California on I-70 non-stop. I am a chemical engineer btw – if only exxon had gotten in on domestic fracking and shale a few years ago they would be pushing paid ads FOR CNG instead of against it, we all know what is going on here. Oh yeah, CNG engines …they last forever too. My turbo has gone 100K past the date it should have failed and is runnig strong- my oil changes are… read more »

    …at 20K now and the oil is still brown unless I have been on dirt roads.

  32. Mark W says:

    This thought provoking article is a deft blend of fact and fiction. The fact is that the price of oil does not include the incredible burden of securing the world to get it. How many US lives and how many taxpayer dollars should be invested so that oil companies can freely operate globally?
    How about zero.
    Add this tremendous burden to your calculations and it makes sense to consider quite a few other energy options.

  33. Bill Cooper says:

    As an owner of 3 CNG trucks, and one for over a year with over 100,000 miles on it, there seems to be some misunderstanding of power and performance.
    I don’t know about the Honda, but I do know about my three. They are not 30% less performance – they are about 5% performance degradation. The mileage is actually slightly better on CNG. Yes the tank takes up about 2 feet of bed space, and we have about 250 mile range on them. The CNG operation is seamless. It starts on gasoline and switches itself to CNG. When it runs out, it switches itself back to gasoline. Except for a beep, you don’t realize it’s switched. In Oklahoma, it’s hard to go 200 miles without seeing a CNG station. It takes no longer to fuel the tank than it does for gasoline.
    More than anything, we are saving $2.30 a gallon! The vehicle is nowhere near wearing out when we recover our conversion cost – typically $10,000 minus the $5000 state tax credit.
    Bottom Line. If you drive more than 30,000 miles (and have access to fuel), it’s an easy choice.
    By the way, CNG is 130 octane. It’s plenty hot.
    The only axe Exxon has to grind is the billions of dollars they have tied up in other countries. If we did make the switch to CNG, would China buy enough to keep it profitable?

  34. A Doggett says:

    Several suggested “exxonmobil has no axe to grind” when in reality this article shows it really does. It is this simple. Read the article again. In escence it is simply saying any vehicle that has a higher cost, lower range and less performance is unacceptable. In this case they are ACTUALLY making the case against ALL alternative fuels and vehicles except ethanol, essentially PROTECTING oil based fuels and conventional internal combustion. Think CNG vehicle prices are higher? Try battery electric. Think CNG station costs and economics are challenging? Try hydrogen. Think vehicle range is less? Find a battery EV for under 30K with 200+ mile range. Simply put, making the case against Light Duty CNG is a case against ALL other Light Duty alternative fuels and vehicles… hence “lets protect the status quo”. Exxon Mobil has the resources to engage and be a participant in the USA’s quest to reduce dependendence on oil and cut emissions, but they CHOOSE not to, this article is proof. They are not stupid, by showing support for heavy duty and fleets they appear to be somewhat supportive of CNG but know this pathway guarantees it will never reach the masses, again, protecting gasoline for cars. Just one penny per gallon of all gasoline sold in America put towards an AFV infrastructure fund would be a HUGE step forward but no, EXXON MOBIL would rather post this “information article” as some red herring way of making themselves look like they care, when in reality it IS making the case to maintain oil/gasoline as our primary fuel source. And you wonder why the pubilc doesn’t trust oil companies. CNG makes sense for those that CHOOSE to use it, certainly not based… read more »

    …on the voice of ExxonMobil.

  35. Bill Sheridan says:

    Guess XOM didn’t clear their positon with T Boone. But I am with XOM, if the arguments for CNG or even LNG were so compelling, you surely would not need government assistance to get it going.

    There are no laws against CNG automobiles or CNG fuel stations.

    • Al Snyder says:

      Illinois requires each passenger vehicle to be EPA-certified before a license plate is issued. The EPA certifies by model and by installation procedure. Certification costs about $125,000. Because it is model-by-model and installation by installation, this means that anyone in Illinois who wants to legally retrofit their personal vehicle to CNG in Illinois will pay an eighth-of-a-million dollars in mandated fees. Yes, Bill, there are laws against CNG autos.

  36. James Rahrig says:

    The author may be confusing a few more things. Cargo space: A CNG only vehicle would have equivalent capacity, the CNG-Gasoline hybrids like the old Ford Contour did take a hit because they carried BOTH CNG and gasoline system – which increased their range and offered the flexability of a dual fuel system. These are the types of car I think Americans would buy and the per vehicle cost to set up a dual fuel system is FAR less than indicated if you check with the fleets who purchased these cars – please. Even with a high pressure tank the cost should be arount $3000 per vehicle on a moderate volume sales basis – retail. Wholesale prices would be far less.

    The article also appears to assume that a CNG fueling network MUST be implemented nationwide, but many would maintain that the market would take care of the initial infrastucture costs along the major corridors where CNG makes the most sense. Most major corridors already support natural gas pipelines and low pressure systems, it would just be a matter of installng a higher pressure storage tank, a high pressure pump to feed it from the low pressure main, and then some metering systems at the fueling points.

    A refueling even wouldn’t really take much longer than a typical fuel stop. Even if it does take twice as long, we’re looking at eight minutes for CNG vs. four minutes for gasoline. A battery charge for an electric vehicle would take hours. Advantage CNG.

    So far as the government staying out of the mix – I’m all for that.

  37. Al Snyder says:

    Modern car computers have built-in settings for CNG fuel. It costs about $800 for parts to convert a passenger car engine, a tank and all the labor brings total installation to under $2,500. And that’s without major market demand. Uncompressed gas is already delivered to many, if not most homes around the country. Combine these facts with Daniel Powell’s in this section, and we have to wonder what the point of this article is. Are we to understand why CNG won’t work, and why we must continue using gasoline? This is the second article in Exxon Mobil’s Perspectives that has left me wondering who, if anybody, is holding the writers accountable — and helps explain what’s holding up general acceptance of CNG. Don’t keep up the bad work.

  38. Richard Yancey says:

    Is there anyone in the southeast who does conversions from gas vehicles to cng? Thanks.

  39. Richard Yancey says:

    Thomas Klein would you contact me regarding the costs of conversion from gas to cng? (yancey@windstream.net) Thanks

  40. Mike Hansen says:

    Oh boy, where to start….first of all CH4 is a hydrocarbon and burns very much like gasoline, diesel and crude oil. When hydrocarbons are oxidized (burned) breaking the H bond to produce CO2 and H20 releases 51Kcal/mole – the same for any O, C and H regardless if the source was petroleum or not. The specific energies for the various hydrocarbon fuels have been well established for over a century – here they are: Crude oil 46.3MJ/Kg, Diesel 46.2MJ/Kg CNG or LNG 53.6 MJ/KG. Note that CNG/LNG is much higher than diesel or gasoline – this is because CNG/LNG is almost pure CH4 with no Carbon-to-carbon bonds. Crude oil is steam cracked to break the carbon-to-carbon bonds since these bonds produce soot – A LOT of soot. If you’ve ever seen an oil well fire you’ll know what I mean. CH4 burns very clean because of near zero C-C bonds and because it has the least amount of CO2 forming carbon for four covalent hydrogen bonds. The only challenge with LNG/CNG is vehicle storage. LNG must be stored at -160C (-256F) and CNG is typically stored at 250Bar which is about 3,200 psi. The supposed performance difference in the result trying to get longer range with a difficult to store fuel – again, being nothing but carbon and hydrogen CH4 could fuel a dragster as effectively as the “nitro” mixtures today.

    • thomas klein says:

      Mike, great strides are being made in the area of absorbed natural gas storage for vehicles, by using a carbon or hydride, its possible to store MORE gas than can be stored in a given tank that’s empty, the hydride, absorbs the gas under low pressure, around 300 psig, and is simply heated to release the gas when needed. In ten years, we won’t be storing gas at 3600 psi.

  41. Bob D. says:

    I drove a number of sedans that were dedicated CNG vehicles for approximately 8 years. The public transit buses were also CNG fueled. The range was substantially shorter than the same model vehicle using gasoline. That said they were as powerful and useable as gas powered vehicles and the difference in refuel time was negligible.

    I believe that they are an extremely viable alternative to traditional gasoline vehicles and leaps and bounds better than these horrid electro gas powered hybrid monstrosities which will turn out to be extroardinarily high maintenance and costly vehicles. One interesting note is that when the vehicles were being serviced and the oil drained -it looked like brand new oil being drained. If that correlates to a lack of or lesser pollution that would also be a huge plus.

    One of Obama’s campaign planks was converting American transportation to the use of CNG. Of course that disappeared as soon as he was sworn in. Likely the only point we would have ever agreed upon.

  42. Ron D. says:

    Here’s the shoe-drop that nobody is apparently worried about: We live in a gov’t environment that is obsessed with income “equality” and distribution of assets. This means that ‘nobody gets a free ride’ even if they are incredibly creative and resourceful. The person who sits on their couch and lives off the work of other productive workers gets to enjoy the same perks and bennies that the worker bee does, in this economic paradigm.

    So what’s up the sleeve of these “do good” gov’t types and politicians? Why, charge drivers per mile, not just for the gas or fuel they use (or NOT use, depending on their creativity!). So, when the mileage achievements and savings begin to curtail the cash raked in by the taxes collected, in comes the NEW model of charge per mile driven. And already the mileage is tracked by car dealers who service under warranty (reported to CarFax), as well as the newer models with the black boxes, and GPS trackers.. there’s plenty of ways they have created to get those figures.

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/100359287
    http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/151765-cbo-says-taxing-drivers-based-on-miles-driven-a-real-option-for-raising-revenues
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-12-07/miles-driven-seen-as-fair-way-to-pay-for-highways-taxes.html

    So unless you figure out a way to unplug from the data stream, our days are numbered where ‘savings’ of good mileage and cheap fuel will stay in our pocket.

    • Maynard Sorensen says:

      In Utah we ignore federal stuff but comply with reasonable regulations of our own. The Feds are so confused with their over regulating etc. they almost look to Utah to help them solve their overkill so they do not bother us. Let the Sleeping Giant sleep and go on with developing CNG use. It is the answer to world wide energy problems like in Argentina.If we
      leave things alone, solve the greed and get control freaks under control. we have it made.

  43. Der wurst says:

    In 1969 100% of the taxi cabs were converted to LPG and the tank was over the rear axel in the large trunk. LPG is higher octane then gasoline and clean burning. A relative converted his work truck to LPG way back then and paid .07/gallon for LPG. His vehicle engine oil stayed clean and he ran that vehicle many years. A conversion kit for LPG can be purchased for under 2000 dollars and LPG is the wave of the future 44 years later. America missed the boat on alternative fuels this article shows.

  44. mo hall says:

    I know I am gonna get hammered in here for bringing this up but I am sorry I am inclined to believe my fellow Americans especially when they are not your natural tree hugging kind by nature as one gentleman put it but fracking has destroyed the drinking water for 100′s of Americans and until they can solve this problem once and for all it needs to be halted.We were sold the same bill of goods about off shore drilling being totally safe….we now know THAT is not true….we were told nuclear power was clean and safe…yet we try not to think about Three Mile Island ,Chernobyl ,and Japan’s more recent incident.WHY do we keep on letting these companies go on lying to us ,ignoring what our fellow Americans warn us about as they light their water on fire ,have to move it of their houses and are suffering from weird illness’s when they were previously healthy people.We have polluted our air to the point that our world is warming up ,the poles are melting,animals are dying ,we added horrible pollutants to our water or years so that when I was growing up Lake Erie was actually dead,,,,a huge lake like that..no fish could be found for years..the Duress company was polluting the air with so many toxins that we have one of the highest cancer of the thyroid,and MS rates in the country not to mention many other diseases like COPD ,Asthma and RA.This new way of obtaining coal by blowing the tops off mountains is ruining not only the air ,trees mountains but the economy of the coal mining states since it not take many men or women to blast a mountain top and then dig through the rubble compared to the old slower way….I get this information…ALL… read more »

    …of it right from the horses mouth,,,the people wHO LIVE In these areas….WHEN are we going to wake up and realize that saving money on gasoline,and ignoring all these problems is going to doom us all,,,the world will go on ,but without clean water ,a breathable atmosphere,an earth temp,that is reasonable and not wildly erratic ,no horrible storms the likes of which haven’t been seen since before man walked the earth because that is what we are looking at….

    • Robert Wallace says:

      I am all for new technology where the research provides lets say 98% assurance of doing things right. I do find over 70 years that it seems like we do go into things rather blind like rather than wait till the research justifies the action. It appears that we do not research and act with responsibility (for the last 100years) as what to do with the trash or the by-product-waste of such adventures and how that all interacts. Most instances have solutions when considered and applied and the latter here does need more attention. As the saying goes, you reap what you sow, but that is no excuse for shutting down technologies that come our way.

  45. Maynard Sorensen says:

    Hey People…..
    A year ago, after experimenting with HHO for some time with some success, I decided to install a natural gas system in my 05 Toyotra Solara because it looked the same as the final issue in 09, it is a v6 with just under 100,000 miles on it. CNG Solutions in Salt Lake City had a system widely used worldwide and two installers from Argentina where most cars run on natural gas. Wow, most cars meant that they had something that worked. The cost was $6500 so I was to get a CnG system along with my regular gas tank. It became a hybrid. It has run flawlessly for a year with a 190 mile range between cng fills. It runs on regular gas when running under 1000 rpm and starts the same way. It is an efficient, well tested system running in a vehicle valued as it now stands at about $15,000, and in a state where CNG is readily available at $1.56.

    This site is full of inuendos and misinformation about CNG. I have seen lots of users at fill stations who installed their own systems off the internet, handyman types, who are perfectly happy with what they have as well as those who had professional systems installed like myself. All are happy campers including a few independent 18 wheeler owners. The whole problem in the USA are the people who selfishly guard their own turf. Oil companys want to sell their oil, Pickens wants to control everyone buying CNG, farmers want no part of getting out of the corn business with ethanol laced into every gas station, and the story goes on while elsewhere and in South America these forces are not killing the process.

    Utah has set up the system to control prices and authorizes… read more »

    …Questar Gas to open stations where they can be accessed as well as independents all up and down the state. More stations are showing up as well. What is killing the business elsehwere in the country I have mentioned herein, greed prevails. Otherwise, we enjoy the benefits of a great way of life with CNG installations of many types in our vehecles. I chose CNG solutions in Salt Lake City because they have people with years of experience worldwide and because their system is next to foolproof at a reasonable price. Just wanted to share my feelings and expeniences with some of you who need correct information and re inforcement. Vote out the bums that want green energy to run our country and their greedy supporters who are blocking the way to getting our own oil sources. the Middle East is on fire.

  46. Robert Wallace says:

    First, I found this article and am quite ignorant about different parts of the issues spoken on. I learned a lot in reading many of the comments. Exxon has a direct influence on my income since they took ownership of my energy resources. So I am interested in perspectives of natural gas. Has anyone provided information on the existing trucking industry that uses NG as service centers for four wheel vehicles? Exxon regulates distribution of energy resources (concerning oil and NG) according to their profitability and from my perspective not always to the best interest of its clients who supply the raw resources. I think Exxon needs more flexibility and communication among its constituents. Any Comments appreciated.

  47. John Zurek says:

    This article is plain wrong. For starters, there is hardly a price increase for cars equipped to run on natural gas. The Netherlands is already doing it for 40 years, LPG installations (as they are called) can be built in cars as an aftermarket item (on any car equipped with a gasoline engine), the price is about $1500 for such a conversion. After the conversion, they can run on both gasoline as well as LPG (liquefied natural gas) simply by throwing a switch.
    Also, what the author writes here about the 70% lower energy content of natural gas is really complete BS. a car equipped with a natural gas conversion kit gives about 10% less mileage per gallon LPG than when the same car is driven on gasoline. And when the engine is specially tuned to drive on natural gas, the mileage is almost 1:1 with gasoline.
    Fueling infrastructure is of course something that would need to be built up in the US. But most larger gas stations already have butane filling stations, which is a very similar technology from an infrastructure point. Also, the technology for this is well known and established. Which means it is low-risk and cheap. As said, countries like The Netherlands are already doing this for more than 40 years (they discovered a huge natural gas field in the northern part of that country in the fifties which is why they built up that LPG infrastructure)
    So why is the author here writing this nonsense? Simple – there is a hidden agenda here. And an obvious one; Why sell the US car driver a gallon of LPG for only one third the price of a gallon of gasoline? Makes more business sense to keep selling that driver plain old gasoline. That’s fine by me. But be honest about… read more »

    …it and SAY so, instead of bs-ing here about made-up negatives for LPG that simply do not exist.

  48. Roger Fleck says:

    This is about the biggest bunch of crap I have heard in a long time I have lived in Thailand for 20 years and they had them 20 years go when I arrived lpg they have some type of cng now that gets better fuel economy a little less power than lpg but safer lpg little less fuel efficiency but more power and the tank is light . This conversion costs on nay car less than a 1,000 USD this is the stupidest article i have heard designed for the idiot american s to keep you brainwashed and chugging down that gas . We used to run on alcohol then they had prohibition . Look it up . Damn idiot greedy corporations and we keep polluting when we never had to in the first place gas was originally a by product of kerosene production rockerfellor found a use for.
    Pull your heads out your ass america look around they run on sugar cane down south of the border. They are building pipelines to ship all our natural gas overseas and several times the cost here . Then they might think about having natural gas cars .I want this now not later how can a 3rd world country be doing this over 20 years ago and we still can’t pull our heads out . Oh by the way they have health care too ignoramuses.

  49. Rich Ravizza says:

    Bais,
    Ken & Richard first, Please Compare Apples To Apples Try the Price / cost of a Prius To the Nat Gas Civic.
    we are talking ALTERNITIVE Fuel, Add the Subsities, rebates and apply the Same Tax incentives.
    Now you can compare, the Emissions of the Nat Gas Civic,it’s Cleaner than the Current Hy-bred technology.
    Americas Bridge Fuel is the Clear Winnner.
    Oil Like Food Should not be Burned, it is Too valuable.
    Now on to LNG and CNG.
    LNG for Long Hual, Heavy duty,ect..Is now a reality.We need the same Policy from Washington,for these SKY Cleaning Vehicals.
    Please do Compare The Cost LNG to Fuel Oil, and also the Emissions.
    CNG is for us Commuters.
    We are all on the same Team, TEAM USA.

  50. Rich Ravizza says:

    Dear Exxon,
    Please Support Boone Pickens and the Pickens Plan. Please support CLNE and Nat Gas Highway this is an American Sucsess Story.Bashing an American Bridge fuel makes your Co. seem, ignorant about the Future and the Facts,and/or Desceptive, Don’t you own XTO?

  51. Richard Baty says:

    Compressed Natural Gas NOT the way to go — Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) makes much more sense — the technology has been around for a long time and I will bet that in the next few years that COAL to Liquid will be the main competetior to LNG. Infrastructure will not have to be changed.

  52. Daniel Powell says:

    This article is so biased it’s pathetic. If a CNG Honda Civc 1.8L gets 28 combined MPG and the Gas version gets 29 combined MPG, then CNG is 96.55% as efficient as Gasoline as a transportation fuel.

    MPG from transportation fuel cannot be based only on BTU of the fuel, Octane rating plays a major part. CNG is 120 Octane while we only get upto 93 octane on the best pump gas.

    It is proven that:
    CNG gets 96.55% MPG that gasoline does in a purpose built engine. (see above)

    While CNG gets nearly the same MPG, it also only produces 65.79% of the heat that gasoline does (75,000 BTU per GGE for CNG vs. 114,000 BTU per gallon gasoline)

    CNG also burns much cleaner than gasoline.

    • mac gardner says:

      Thanks for your post Daniel. I thought there was some bias in the article myself. I read that Exxon does not support government subsidies for CNG. I wonder what their position is on eliminating the $80 billion or so subsidies and tax breaks that Big oil enjoys, which would allow us to redirect the money to alternative fuel development. In 2010, the energy bill was about to pass in the senate when Sen, Mitch McConnell filibustered the bill which had 59 senators voting in favor, and 85 percent public support. Not surprisingly, the big oil lobby had just dropped nearly $500,000 into his campaign kitty, and big oil will do anything, spend any amount of money to block competition from gaining a foothold on their forever held monopoly. In Caracas, Venezuela today, gasoline is selling for $0.11 per gallon. CNG is selling for $0.78 per gallon about 3 miles from my house according to a map on the Internet which lists fill sites in Oklahoma. The highest price I’ve seen here is well under $2.00 per gallon equivalent. According to Exxon’s chairman on Meet the Press about 3 months ago, at least 40 percent of the price of oil is due to speculation and manipulation. So, without manipulation, we should be paying around $2.00 per gallon for gasoline, but since this is a presidential election year, the oil companies have an interest in seeing republicans win the fall election. The oil monopoly gives 85 percent of PAC money to republicans. The refining Koch brothers, who will lose billions if the country switches to natural gas transportation, gives 100 percent to republicans, clear down to the level of school board elections. In the Koch’s efforts to wipe labor… read more »

      …unions off the map, they “contributed” about a million dollars to a shill candidate for a North Carolina school board seat. Fortunately, their water boy lost by 17 points. In Wisconsin, their pet governor, Scott Walker, is in danger of being recalled, and the Kochs have kicked in millions to try to keep him in place. However, Walker is the subject of a criminal investigation and this isn’t the first time. Walker was indicted for medicaid fraud a few years ago but beat the charges. The same was true for Florida Governor Rick Scott. Exxon is poised to move into natural gas fuels, but they don’t really want to because natural gas is below cost of production and Exxon and the oil cartel can’t manipulate the price of natural gas. Oil costs about $3 per barrel lifted in Saudi Arabia, and according to Sandridge Energy chairman Tom Ward, they are producing oil in Oklahoma for $6.50 per barrel, yet we are told that the “wholesale price” of unrefined oil is $104.00. Why is that? .In 2000, gas was selling for $0.79 in the spring, but before the election doubled to nearly $2.00 whihc helped oilmen Bush and Cheney. We were told there was a shortage. My then next door neighbor was a senior accountant at a local oil refinery and when I asked him about the shortage, he almost fell over laughting, telling me “There is no shortage. Every tank farm in the US is full. We have tankers lined up off of Houston in the gulf which have been sitting there for weeks because there is no place to put any more oil.” It was a manipulated shortage designed to help republicans, especially Bush and Cheney, and I suspect the same thing is happening now. The republican politicians pockets are almost all lined with oil money, and they will vote as they are told, and they aren’t going to question why, when gasoline goes to $5.50 per gallon or more why it is happening. It ould be biting the hand that feeds them.

      • Ron Rounda says:

        @mac – crikey – Exxon has no axe to grind – they are the biggest natgas producers in the US – if CNG made economic sense in passenger vehicles, it would have been done with, or without, Exxon’s help.

        The facts are passenger vehicles are unsuited to CNG – too prohibitive when full cycle costs are included as this article tried to point out. But CNG is suitable for fleet vehicles in niche markets – and continues to see increased adoption, albeit from low levels.

        The future is to use natgas for baseload generation and distribute energy via the ubiquitous electrical grid to power EVs or hybrids. If we simply switch from coal to natgas, we single-handedly cut vast amounts of pollution (NOx, heavy metals, ash) and cut CO2 emissions dramatically (CO2 is not a pollutant). And we’d save BIG money doing so – instead of the absurd “green” proposals that cost taxpayers hundreds of billions/trillions additional monies.

        • thomas klein says:

          Bull , I Crunch these numbers all day, I guy running 3 trucks 20k per year getting 15 mpg is paying $1250 per month in gasoline, same guy running those trucks on CNG, after accounting for the lease on the compressor, the lease on the conversions, and the price of the raw Nat gas and electricity, will pay $562 on a 6 yer lease with a dollar buy out. Money talks and bull@&$t walks.

      • Jeff Bonner says:

        I’d like to echo the mssg from Ron Rounda. Exxon has no axe to grind. They benefit more than anyone from a boost in the price of Natural Gas. They just don’t want the government to cause it. Maybe it’s because they understand that when the government has created every bubble from Waterloo to Wall Street.

        • Ronald Wagner says:

          Exxon has suppressed natural gas for thirty years. They knew they could get it, but lied to congress and thwarted natural gas vehicles. Info is in the GET the Great Energy Transition. Free video. See at the top of my list. http://ronwagnersrants.blogspot.com Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty, dangerous, expensive coal and nuclear plants. It is producing the electricity for electric cars. It will directly fuel cars,pickup trucks, vans, buses, long haul trucks, dump trucks, locomotives, aircraft, ships etc. It will keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It is reducing CO2 emissions. Here are over 1,600 recent links for you:
          NbaKYme3bqOw0b6KMxXSjOLHLNeflalPy9gIAiTYhttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1FMQ/edit

        • thomas klein says:

          Is that why they bought out CARB so its illegal to convert your car or truck to Nat gas in CA without a $350,000 fee paid to CARB. Get real, their oil men, they sell oil, which makes gasoline, wake up and smell the money.

      • Mike Swaim says:

        You Dems need to start detailing these $80 billion of subsidies. I’m a tax CPA and I am unaware of any of these special deals for Big-oil. I am aware of a number of tax breaks for small producers that Big-oil doesn’t get. I am aware of a number of tax breaks that apply to almost every business except Big-Oil. But, I am unaware of any breaks that only apply to Big-Oil.

      • Ronald Wagner says:

        Thanks for your comment. Politicians should get behind cheap, clean natural gas. You can still burn gasoline or diesel if you wish. Vehicles can easily, and cheaply be made bifuel or trifuel as they are in South America. Fortunately this is starting now.
        CNG and LNG can moderate the price of gasoline and diesel.

    • Dr Duude says:

      Daniel:
      Taken from Honda motor’s own website, their 2012 Honda Civic natural gas vehicle advertises 27 city, 38 highway with a suggested price of $26,305 while the 2012 Honda Civic coupe advertises 28 city, 29 highway with a suggested price of $15755. Its the price difference that may make it nearly impossible to recoup especially since another Obama term will almost certainly include a new ban on natural gas fracking.

      • Dr Duude says:

        Error: meant to type 39 highway on the Civic coupe.

      • Ron Rounda says:

        Exactly. You pay big premium to get lower mileage, far lower range, see almost all your trunk space filled up with a big, heavy tank that then causes worse handling. Plus you suffer 30% lower horsepower and torque. The average driver never sees payout before the car is scrapped – as such, a total waste of money, time and effort.

        • thomas klein says:

          I convert cars for a living, you couldn’t be more wrong, you want to delude yourself go on, but on most of our installs we see less than a 5% difference in performance gasoline to CNG, and on a pickup or full size van, space is NOT an issue, in a truck, the tank goes in the bed, on a van, underneath, as for your weight contention, a 24.5 GGE carbon fiber tank weighs 136 pounds empty, and CNG weighs 5.5 pounds per gallon, so that’s 268 pounds TOTAL, on a pickup truck, that’s NOTHING. Your grabbing at straws.

      • Ronald Wagner says:

        Obama is actually supporting natural gas vehicles and fracking. The DOE has made several important grants to design inexpensive tanks, home pumps etc. Look it up in my links or on the DOE website. Or do a search.

      • thomas klein says:

        Your not comparing apples to apples, the $15755 is for a DX model, Honda’s lowest trim level, the $26,305 of the CNG model Is closer to the EX, and comes with NAV, in short the difference is about six grand, and Honda was giving a three grand CNG gas card with every purchase good at Clean Energy stations, that is in essence, three years free fuel for the average driver.

    • Ron Rounda says:

      @Daniel – you must have flunked basic critical thinking.

      Mileage isn’t the be-all and end-all to compare CNG vs conventional gasoline. The Honda has 30% less horsepower and 30% less torque and sees lower mileage with worse handling and half the cargo space of the equivalent gasoline Honda. Thus, to compare “apples to apples”, you have to install a 30% bigger engine and build a bigger car to get the same utility as the conventional gasoline powered Honda. Then talk to us how CNG gets “nearly the same MPG” as gasoline…

      Thanks for the laugh about how CNG “only” produces 65.79% of the heat (ie energy) of gasoline – you shoot your ill-informed arguments about CNG in the foot without even knowing it. Such delicious irony, but with your woefully ill-informed comments, not in the least surprising.

      • gary jeror says:

        I suppose you drive. I do and I get a kick out of it, I watch these jack rabbit starts at red lights, people doing 55 60 or more in a 45MPH what do we need more power for. CNG pollutes less. I had a friend who bought a van that had been converted by the city and when it got so many miles they sold it. He ran it and changed the oil every 15-20,000 miles and it was cleaner than the oil in my car after 500 miles. He ran it for over 10 years and had well over 500,000 miles on it before it was wrecked. He said it was the cheapest and cleanest (motor wise) vehicle he ever had. Of course he was a mechanic so I guess he didn’t know anything about engines. Keep letting Exxon make their 12 billion in 3 months, they know what is best for us.

      • thomas klein says:

        Ron your the one that’s talking Ill-informed, I drive both a gasoline powered vehicle, a diesel vehicle, ans a CNG powered vehicle on a daily basis. CNG burns HOTTER than gasoline or diesel, NOT cooler, and there is exactly the SAME amount of energy in a GGE of natural gas as a gallon of gasoline, hence the name (Gas Gallon Equivilent) Yes the tanks on CNG vehicles are bulkier than gasoline vehicles, but that’s about the only drawback. In pickups and full size vans that’s not a big problem. As for cars, trunk space in Hybrids is also smaller due to the battery intrusion.

    • Bruce Poppe says:

      Daniel, you are mistaken about the mileage that the Honda Civic CNG model gets.

      The mileage that you have accurately quoted from the Honda website has a footnote. If yoiu follow that footnote to the greenercars.org website, here’s what you find:

      “Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle fuel economy given in gasoline-equivalent miles per gallon.”

      What this means is that there’s a conversion factor applied to the data, to make it equivalent. When ExxonMobil says that the energy density of CNG is lower, they’re right. You would have to carry a lot more volume of CNG to go the same distance as on gasoline.

    • Dave Hanna says:

      Thanks for the post, Daniel. Most of all, I love how the relative cost of the fuel is not even mentioned. CNG is 1/10th the cost of gasoline when the MPG and efficiencies are reconciled.
      That means at current market pricing, Exxon would be delivering an equivalent product at a wholesale level for less than 30 cents (1/10 of the $3.00 they get for crude at a refinery) and it means their gross revenues will decline in unison with this. As mac says below, even now, with very limited demand and facilities for fueling, the cost is less than half of the equivalent gasoline.
      CNG is the prefect transition fuel to straddle the gap between refined gasoline and alternative energies.
      Environmental groups need to take a step back and consider this as an acceptable path to energy self sufficiency and a dramatic drop in the use of fossil fuels world wide.
      This energy source is widespread, works well in developing countries and is far less stressful on both economic and environmental levels.
      The technology for delivery, storage and the end use all exist and are scalable. It is time to get smart about this. Both electricity and natural gas are widely distributed into American homes. No reason why a slower delivery/fueling system can’t be in many households.

    • thomas klein says:

      Not only that, by running a mixture of diesel and CNG, one can get the benefits of both fuels positives, and NONE of the negitives. Diesel has the highest BTU count, but a low octane rating, and the Diesel engine is already efficient since its a high compression engine, and diesel fuel has luberacating properties, add CNG in a 50% blend and you have a powerful AND hot explosion, that burns completely, with no soot or particulates, on a TDI VW jetta, one goes from 45 MPG to 65 MPG with a 20% increase in torque and horsepower. I guess Exxon didn’t want us to know that.

    • Brad Thiessen says:

      Excellent points Daniel! I have to chime in because recently built and opened a CNG station in Longview, TX.
      One of the points the author stays away from is the ROI on the vast majority of CNG vehicles currently on the road, pickups. If you look at the fuel economy of the all of the Big 3′s 3/4 ton trucks, you will find they are getting 15.5 to 17 MPGGE. The ROI on these trucks at current savings is less than 90K miles. While that may be a lot of miles for the average family driver, most of these are work trucks which achieve ROI in 12-18 months…. And the vehicles retain 80+% of the value of the CNG addition upon resale. I also need to say the type 4 tanks being used in these trucks are no heavier than the “10 lb gas tank” with 28 gallons of gasoline in them.
      Finally, we are building the next generation of CNG station (here comes the pitch). Our stations are built to produce and dispense fuel at rates as fast or faster than our gasoline counterparts. The average fill time for a 17-18 GGE fill up at my station is less than 4 minutes from handle lift to nozzle hang-up. And we can fill 2 pickups and 2 heavy trucks at a time! http://Www.ifsfuel.com

  53. fred zausner says:

    Why can’t we get natural gas directly from the home rather than building a network of stations?

    • Ronald Wagner says:

      You can. The pumps cost from $ 4,000 up. See cngnow.com and cngchat.com.

      • mac gardner says:

        The same pump was advertised for $2,000 years ago. I’ll bet a guy in a chicken coop in Arkansas could build a home compressor unit for $200 or less.

        • Bruce Poppe says:

          Mac, when the guy in the chicken coop builds his home compressor, I’m not going to buy one. You may find the remains of his house sitting next to some NASA equipment on the moon.

        • thomas klein says:

          3600 psi with a coalescing filter to get every bit of water out. I doubt it, the filter alone costs, $138 dollars, that leaves you $62 to build your compressor, and oh BTW, the 3hp motor has to be explosion proof, as per NFPA-52 guild lines , least expensive thats made is by Baldor, and costs $1200. Would you like to try again?

        • mike mayer says:

          Thats what we did during the oil crisis of the 1970`s on most farms and ranches. seemed to work fine

        • thomas klein says:

          Good luck with that NFPA52 requires an explosion proof electric motor to power it, and they run over $200 from the manufacturer just for the motor. Remember, your dealing with HIGH pressure, 3,600 psi, that’s 248 BAR, enough pressure to cut a man in two, in less than a second if not respected properly. This isn’t some dinky dink air compressor W 300 psi, it has to be built VERY robust. If the can get it down to $3,300 it will be an accomplishment.

    • Ronald Wagner says:

      Good point. There is a DOE grant to General Electric to design a tank for $500. GE is jumping on the natural gas infrastructure bandwagon. It is all in my links, or do a search.

      http://ronwagnersrants.blogspot.com Natural gas is the future of energy. It is replacing dirty, dangerous, expensive coal and nuclear plants. It is producing the electricity for electric cars. It will directly fuel cars,pickup trucks, vans, buses, long haul trucks, dump trucks, locomotives, aircraft, ships etc. It will keep us out of more useless wars, where we shed our blood and money. It is reducing CO2 emissions. Here are over 1,600 recent links for you:
      NbaKYme3bqOw0b6KMxXSjOLHLNeflalPy9gIAiTYhttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1FMQ/edit