Boone Pickens’ efforts to promote natural gas as an alternative to gasoline in vehicles seems to be gaining momentum. In a column published by the Huffington Post, Pickens said that the recent advances in extraction of natural gas from shales is a “game-changer.” “One study estimates that we have enough natural gas to satisfy current demand for the next century.” Pickens reports that H.R. 1835, the NAT GAS Act, has strong bipartisan support in Congress. the NAT GAS Act provides incentives for installation of compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling stations and use of CNG in large trucks and fleet vehicles.
Natural gas gives off 25% less carbon dioxide than oil for the same amount of energy produced. About 1/3 of total U.S. carbon dioxide emissions come from burning of gasoline in internal combustion engines. For a good summary of the use of CNG, go to the U.S. Department of Energy’s website on Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
Although Texas leads the nation in natural gas production, it is behind ten other states in the number of CNG fueling stations.
Louisiana is considering its own legislation offering incentives to convert existing vehicles to natural gas and the installation of CNG fueling stations. Chrysler’s recently announced plan to sell its best assets to Fiat may present a major opportunity to increase sales of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the U.S. Fiat plans to sell 120,000 NGVs in Italy this year. Only one NGV passenger car, the Honda Civic GX, is sold in the U.S. and there are only about 130,000 NGVs of all types currently on U.S. roads.