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Natural Gas Fueling Stations For Natural Gas Vehicles Are Being Built Across The United States

Updated on September 3, 2022
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A Natural Gas Fueling Station Pump

The combination of low natural gas prices and relatively high prices for gasoline and diesel fuel has provided the economic incentive for companies to start building natural gas fueling stations for automobiles and trucks along major highways in the United States to provide natural gas for vehicles with natural gas capable engines. The price of natural gas in the United States has fallen sharply since 2010, as natural gas fracking techniques have greatly increased the amount of natural gas that can be extracted from the earth. While fracking for natural gas is not without controversy, due to the potential for it to pollute soil and ground water in the vicinity of fracking operations, it has lead to such an abundant supply of natural gas in the energy starved United States that natural gas production is outstripping demand for natural gas, which has driven the price of natrual gas down and made fueling vehicles with natural gas an attractive alternative.

More Natural Gas Vehicles Are Needed For Natural Gas Fueling Stations

While there are few automobiles and trucks on the roads in the United States that can run on natural gas (only approximately 120,000 of the 254 million vehicles on the road), the price differential between gasoline and diesel fuel (between $3.00 and $4.50 per gallon) and natural gas (between $1.50 and $2.50 per gallon equivalent) is starting to cause some movement towards more use of natural gas powered vehicles. This is especially true amongst companies with truck fleets that can use strategically locate natural gas fueling stations to serve their fleets on their regular shipping routes, saving a tremendous amount of money on their fuel costs versus using diesel fuel. Also, some public transit companies have started using natural gas vehicles, since the vehicles save them money and can be refueled at a maintenance garage.

There are a number of natural gas vehicle options for shipping and public transit companies in the United States that want to use natural gas vehicles for their fleets. A budding cottage industry has sprung up to serve shipping and public transit companies that are interested in reducing their fuel usage costs by switching to natural gas powered vehicles. However, consumer options for natural gas vehicles are very limited as of 2012. Honda is the only automobile manufacturer that offers a natural gas powered car in the United States. The Honda Civic NG, which has a fuel economy rating of 27 city/38 highway miles per gallon (MPG), is available at select Honda delearships that are close to public natural gas fueling stations. Perhaps due to a lack of public natural gas fueling stations or just a lack of consumer awareness regarding the cost savings of running a car on natural gas, Honda only sells 1,000 to 2,000 Honda Civic NGs per year.

You Made Be Seeing More Natural Gas Fueling Stations In The Near Future

Plans In The Works To Add Natural Gas Fueling Stations

Corporate America has taken note of the increasing demand for natural gas fueling stations from shipping companies, and plans are in the works to add hundreds of natural gas fueling stations across the United States in coming years, with many of them planned for Interstate highway corridors to serve trucking fleets. As of 2012, there are approximately 180,000 gasoline fueling stations in the United States, but only approximately 1,000 natural gas fueling stations.

Valero Energy Corporation, a major gasoline refiner and retailer in Texas and Chesapeake Energy, a major natural gas exploration and production company, are in talks to team up to build natural gas fueling stations along heavily travelled Interstate highway corridors in Texas.

A company called Clean Energy Fuels is working to add natural gas fueling stations at 150 truck stops along major Interstate highway routes in the United States over the next three years. Clean Energy Fuels has the financial and personal backing of legendary oil and gas producer, T. Boone Pickens, who has made it clear through the media that he thinks the road to energy independence in the United States must include the expanded use of domestically produced natural gas to power cars and trucks.

Efforts to jump start demand for natural gas fueling stations via the use of tax credits to help truckers and trucking companies cover the additional upfront cost for a natural gas powered trucks have stalled in the United States Congress. Even without government support, the price differential between natural gas and diesel fuel should spur truckers and trucking companies to consider the long term cost savings of using natural gas instead of diesel.

One complication in the expansion of natural gas fueling stations is the fact that trucks use liquid natural gas, while cars use compressed natural gas, due to space issues with storing a sufficient amount of natural gas in cars. This means that trucks and cars need to use different natural gas fueling stations.

Natural Gas Fueling Stations Map

How To Find Natural Gas Fueling Stations

There are a number of resources available on the Internet to help truckers and automobile drivers that have natural gas powered trucks and cars find natural gas fueling stations. The following are three such sites:

CNG Refueling Systems Helps Install Natural Gas Fueling Stations

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2012 John Coviello


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