• 2 minutes CV19: New York 21% infection rate + 40% Existing T-Cell immunity = 61% = Herd Immunity ?
  • 4 minutes Is The Three Gorges Dam on the Brink of Collapse?
  • 7 minutes Sources confirm Trump to sign two new Executive orders.
  • 2 hours Is the oil & gas industry on the way out?
  • 2 hours In a Nutshell...
  • 4 hours Better Days Are (Not) Coming: Fed Officials Suggest U.S. Recovery May Be Stalling
  • 2 days No More Love: Kanye West Breaks With Trump, Claims 2020 Run Is Not A Stunt
  • 5 mins Australian renewables zone attracts 27 GW of solar, wind, battery proposals
  • 2 days Where is Alberta, Canada headed?
  • 2 days Putin Paid Militants to Kill US Troops
  • 10 hours Why Oil could hit $100
  • 3 days The Coal Industry May Never Recover From The Pandemic
  • 3 days A Real Reality Check on "Green Hydrogen"
  • 3 days Why Wind is pitiful for most regions on earth
  • 2 days During March, April, May the states with the highest infections/deaths were NY, NJ, Ma. . . . . Today (June) the three have the best numbers. How ? Herd immunity ?
Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Premium Content

Why Natural Gas Hasn’t Dethroned Gasoline

In some parts of the world, such as the Balkans, gasoline cars retrofitted with natural gas tanks are a common sight on roads. In others, such the United States, such vehicles are a rarity. This might sound strange given the abundance of cheap natural gas that the United States has been enjoying in recent years. There are companies working to make the cleaner fossil fuel an alternative to gasoline, yet the chances of natural gas to replace gasoline remain slim—at least for now. But why not?

First, why is natural gas being used as a vehicle fuel at all? It’s cheaper than gasoline, that’s for sure. It is also a lot better on the emissions front and it has comparable engine efficiency rates to gasoline cars. What’s even better, natural gas is a safer fuel: it is lighter than air and dissipates in case of an accident, unlike liquid gasoline. Gas car skeptics would say that the gas tank, normally placed in the back of the vehicle, is an explosion hazard, although the risk is not as great with modern, professionally fitted gas tanks.

So, gas is cheaper, cleaner, and safer, while delivering a comparable engine performance to gasoline. Why, then, are gasoline engines not yet a thing of the past?

First, there is the problem with fuelling stations. There are a precious few for natural gas vehicles in the United States, and building a nationwide network does not really make economic sense: by the time natural gas cars take off (and there is no certainty they ever will) other alternative fuels to gasoline—or more likely electric cars—would have become more popular, erasing any potential gains from building such a network. Related: Big Oil’s Next Major Move

Second, there is the issue of cost. Just because natural gas itself is cheaper than gasoline does not make a car running on natural gas cheaper. The fuel efficiency of a natural gas car is not really exemplary. The two CNG (compressed natural gas) cars that used to be available on the U.S. market—the CNG Honda Civic and the Chevrolet Impala Bi-Fuel—are both now a thing of the past. The first had a fuel efficiency reading of 31 miles per gasoline gallon equivalent and the second’s reading was 19 MPGe. Not really impressive.

Third, there are simply no CNG cars being sold in the U.S. right now, after Honda and Chevrolet stopped manufacturing the CNG Civic and the Impala Bi-Fuel. Except fleet sales, you literally cannot buy a new CNG car in the country. You can only retrofit your gasoline vehicle with a gas system. Yet, natural gas is a viable alternative to gasoline when it comes to trucks and buses, if only for emissions’ sake.

The transportation industry accounted for as much as 28 percent of greenhouse emissions in the U.S. in 2016. Switching to CNG from gasoline makes sense for trucks and buses whose purpose is to provide reliable transport for goods and passengers rather than breaking engine performance records. Also, a fueling network for buses and trucks would be much easier—and cheaper—to build.

Elsewhere, the future of natural gas vehicles is brighter. Recently, a senior Volkswagen executive said NG vehicles could come to account for a tenth of the total vehicle fleet in Germany and Europe. In fact, Stephen Neumann told Clean Energy Wire, gas-fueled cars could become the alternative to electric vehicles, which still suffer shorter driving ranges and much longer recharging times than fossil fuel cars.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:


Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage





Leave a comment
  • Don Zenga on July 10 2018 said:
    Because those 2 models: Civic & Impala cost $8,000 & $10,000 more than their gasoline version.
    Reason: Honda & Chevy did not like to sell them.

    But its a different story in China where 6 million NGVs were sold followed by Iran with 4.5 million and India with 3.04 million.

    Lack of NGVs stations is because all the gas stations are controlled by Big Oil.
    Anyway Electric vehicles are picking up now and if the competition heats up, the automakers may price the NGVs at an affordable price.
  • Ronald C Wagner on July 10 2018 said:
    Actually, there are sufficient stations in most areas already. The Dakotas and Montana are about the only area devoid of stations. Natural gas and ethanol are already lower priced than gasoline per mpg price and are far cleaner. Leadership is what is lacking.

    Here is a map of the United States and Canada with prices. Canada in liters.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News