It’s no secret that there are more alternative-fuel vehicles on the road today. But as natural gas has increased in availability and fallen in price, compressed natural gas has grown as the fuel of choice for many fleet operators.
To get a better idea of how much CNG has grown as a vehicle fuel, take a look at data showing the growth in annual consumption of the fuel. U.S. vehicles used 8,328 million cubic feet of natural gas in 1997, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Vehicle fuel usage in 2013 was nearly quadruple the 1997 amount, reaching 32,850 million square feet.
Several factors are driving adoption of CNG-fueled vehicles. The cleaner-burning fuel results in fewer carbon emissions, making CNG more environmentally friendly. CNG also offers economic advantages, yielding fuel savings costs of about 30 percent compared to gasoline, according to CNG United, a group that provides CNG installation training.
Those advantages have led to the growth in the number of natural gas vehicles in use in the United States. Today, there are 142,000 natural gas vehicles on the road today used in fleets, according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America. For example, the U.S. Postal Service’s mix of alternative fuel vehicles includes CNG trucks, which are prominently used for postal delivery in two Texas cities. The North Austin, Texas Post Office operates about 30 CNG vehicles. In Corpus Christi, Texas, the Postal Service has added 80 CNG vehicles. Corpus Christi postal officials say converting to CNG vehicles has cut monthly fuel costs by more than 80 percent.
The growth of natural gas vehicles has been accompanied by a growth in refueling stations. Cummins Westport, a company that designs and manufactures natural gas engines used in trucks and buses, counts more than 1,200 CNG refueling stations in the United States. More than half of those stations are available for public use, the rest are reserved for private fleets. The number of CNG refueling stations is sure to grow as demand for CNG-fueled vehicles grows. To learn more, please contact us today.