SUV’s Savings Environment and Filling up at .$63 per gallon

Posted on June 2, 2008. Filed under: HybridHype |

Just imagine a world filling up your SUV for $50, reducing pollution 60% and pulling 50% of foreign oil into the U.S. economy…

Not a a hydrogen “hoop dream” or ethanol scam… just the facts on REAL clean fuel alternatives. 

  • Nearly 87% of U.S. natural gas used is domestically produced
  • 60-90% less smog-producing pollutants
  • 30-40% less greenhouse gas emissions
  • Less expensive than gasoline

While the national average price of gasoline is now $4, some are happily filling up on compressed natural gas (CNG) at $0.63 per gallon. That’s the country’s lowest price for CNG, which has understandably caused a surge in demand for vehicles running on a fuel that one man described as “practically free.”

So far, CNG vehicles haven’t made a blip on my radar screen, even though the group Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVA) estimates there are 150,000 NGVs on U.S. roads today and over 5 million worldwide. It took a phone call from sunny Southern Utah to clue me in to recent developments, which include a local refueling station overflowing with CNG-hungry vehicles.

There are about 1500 CNG refueling stations in the US, which is about the same number of commercial stations offering E85 ethanol blends. Utah has a total of 91 CNG filling stations, most of which are reserved for commercial fleet use, but there are 20 open to the public. According to an article by the Associated Press, you could drive Utah from top to bottom and hit 22 different stations offering compressed natural gas.

One of the major benefits of using compressed natural gas is a significant reduction in emissions when compared to gasoline. Compressed natural gas is touted as the “cleanest burning” alternative fuel available, since the simplicity of the methane molecule reduces tailpipe emissions of different pollutants by 35-97%. Not quite as dramatic is the reduction in net greenhouse-gas emissions, which is about the same as corn-grain ethanol at about a 20% reduction over gasoline.

What about LPG/CNG? 

LPG vehicles emit about one-third fewer reactive organic gases than gasoline-fueled vehicles. Nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions are also 20% and 60% less, respectively. Unlike gasoline-fueled vehicles, there are no evaporative emissions while LPG vehicles are running or parked, because LPG fuel systems are tightly sealed. Small amounts of LPG may escape into the atmosphere during refueling, but these vapors are 50% less reactive than gasoline vapors, so they have less of a tendency to generate smog-forming ozone. LPG also has an extremely low sulfur content.

LPG delivers roughly the same power, acceleration, and cruising speed characteristics as gasoline …. LPG’s high octane rating (around 105) means that an LPG engine’s power output and fuel efficiency can be increased beyond what would be possible with a gasoline engine without causing destructive knocking. Such fine-tuning can help compensate for the fuel’s lower energy density.

Additional Information

Mitch asked me “What Fuel Do I like?”… easy answer: cheap, abundant, clean CNG/LPG
“Seriously, can a million bloggers be wrong?” – Haase


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