As gasoline prices in the US rise toward $5 a gallon, experts believe that compressed natural gas vehicles could get a boost says The Tribune-Democrat. This has encouraged the US government to introduce a program to increase the number of CNG vehicles reports the Detroit News. President Obama said this week that his government is launching a program that will bring together the nation’s best scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to figure out how more cars can be powered by natural gas — a fuel that’s cleaner, cheaper and more abundant than oil. The focus will be on developing innovative, low-cost natural gas storage technologies and methods to lower pressure in vehicle tanks and help enable the widespread adoption of natural gas for transportation.
Daily Finance writes about Natural Gas: The Industry That Could Save America. Included is a chart showing the projected cost for one gallon of petroleum-based fuels as opposed to a gallon-equivalent of natural gas fuels over the period 2005 to 2035.
The former governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge, believes that methanol rather then CNG would be a better transportation fuel alternative in an article in The New York Times. A recent report from the M.I.T. Energy Initiative, “The Future of Natural Gas,” called methanol “the liquid fuel that is most efficiently and inexpensively produced from natural gas.” Ridge argues that if the US Congress were to enact an open fuel standard that required new cars to be warranted to run on all-alcohol fuels, including methanol, natural gas could compete with gasoline and diesel. Producing these cars would cost about $100 more. And these fuels could be distributed through the current refueling infrastructure with only slight retrofits. CNG, in contrast, requires a $10,000 retrofit and thus is only feasible for high mileage vehicles like transport trucks, commerical vehicles, taxis and buses.
The Daily-Record tells us that fleet owners in the US state Ohio are looking closely at CNG and propane vehicles as alternatives to gasoline and diesel. The former fuels are favoured because they burn cleaner, cost less and are produced in the state.
The seaport city of Ningbo, China expects to see its buses, taxies, port container trucks powered by natural gas soon says Ningbo Life. This will mean 2500 LNG or CNG buses in the urban area, to account for half of the total, with around 10 supporting service stations. There will be 3500 dual-fueled taxis (petrol and CNG), accounting for 70% of the total, with 15 to 20 service stations providing two fuels. There will be 500 container trucks using LNG, accounting for 40% of the total in Ningbo Port, with 3 to 4 service stations providing LNG.
Bus manufacturer Nova Bus in Plattsburgh, New York state is expanding its plant to produce a CNG bus reports the Press Republican.
KATV mentions that the city of North Little Rock, Arkansas is saving money using CNG in its garbage trucks. It costs $8,000 to $10,000 to convert a vehicle to CNG. North Little Rock saves about $1,000 a week because of the switch, plus gains another $2,000 because they opened the pumps to the public. Fleets like AT&T take advantage of the $1.44/per gallon gas. “We are making money when we sell gas to other companies and of course saving money when we sell it to ourselves,” says Director of Commerce Joe Smith.
The city of Buffalo, New York has 15 CNG garbage trucks to go along with its new CNG refueling station says The Buffalo News.