Millions of vehicle owners across the country are reeling from the effects of the unimpeded rise of fuel prices. As gas prices shot up to steep levels in recent months, many drivers are even forced to give up driving for work or leisure. Gas-guzzling trucks and SUVs are being given up for sale by owners and the demand for fuel-efficient cars are putting a big dent on the big three automakers’ fortunes.
To add to the bleak outlook, concerns over the harmful effects of fuel consumption to the environment continue to grow. In the face of all of this, there must be something we can do to cut back our dependence on high-priced fuels and find alternative fuels that are not only less expensive but also more environment-friendly. Compressed natural gas or CNG fits that description and could very well be the answer we are all looking for.
Compressed Natural Gas is a fossil fuel alternative to gasoline and diesel. In creating compressed natural gas, the natural gas sourced from reserves deep beneath the earth’s surface is compressed to about 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. CNG is usually stored in spherical or cylindrical tanks.
CNG is considered to be a cleaner and more eco-friendly substitute to traditional fuels although using CNG also produces greenhouse gases albeit at lower CO2 emission levels. CNG produces 80% less carbon monoxide compared to gasoline and diesel. Hydrocarbon emissions are also greatly reduced in CNG-powered vehicles, with about 45% less hydrocarbons than in gasoline-driven vehicles.
CNG also has a lower energy density compared to other fuels such as liquefied natural gas or LNG and diesel. Thus, in the event of leaks, the natural gas simply dissipates into the air instead of forming pools in the ground such as in the case of gasoline and diesel. This results to lower risk of fire hazard in case of leaks. Owners of CNG-converted vehicles also enjoy savings in maintenance costs since CNG is a clean-burning fuel and cause minimal damage or accumulation of debris in the engine’s pipes and systems.
Because of the rising cost of gasoline, CNG is increasingly used as an alternative fuel. More and more traditional gasoline cars all over the world, especially in Europe and South America are being converted to bi-fuel so that they can run on compressed natural gas. Virtually any gasoline car can be converted into a gasoline/CNG or bi-fuel car. Conversion to natural gas is best done by trained and certified facilities such as CNG United.