The case has been made for the financial and environmental benefits of CNG vehicles. They have been proven to cost significantly less than their gasoline and diesel counterparts. They have been tested and have been proven to drastically reduce tale pipe emissions and to increase fuel efficiency. And, natural gas is a domestic fuel source that can offer our nation a path towards energy independence. Why then, are our roadways not teaming with CNG vehicles?
It seems we’ve had a stalemate over who should come first; the CNG Vehicle or the CNG.
So, will Americans ever be able to break this stalemate and reap the benefits of CNG vehicles? With both chickens and eggs scrambling over the horizon, the outlook is sunny side up.
Until recently, Honda offered the only dedicated CNG commuter vehicle in the American marketplace. The year, most major manufacturers have some production plans for CNG. Automotive newcomer, Valor Motor Company, has just released a limited number of 4 passenger hatchback models, complete with leather, Bluetooth, and impressive MPG’s. The company is even enticing consumers with offers of free natural gas for the first year of vehicle ownership.
Not sure natural gas is readily available in your area? Well, don’t discount your chickens before they hatch; there may be more access to the fuel than you think.
As of June 2012, there were 1,047 public and private CNG stations throughout the United States and many more were in the works. The US Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center estimates that construction of CNG stations has increased 224% since mid-2010.
Last week, IGS Energy CNG Services announces its plans to construct and operate a $10 million compressed natural gas fueling corridor along U.S. Interstate 79. The corridor will extend from West Virginia to Pennsylvania, and will include 4 public fast-fill stations.
“Natural gas offers a cheap and environmentally friendly alternative to gasoline or diesel,” said company President Scott White. “Because natural gas is both abundant and produced domestically, vehicles fueled by natural gas are becoming an increasingly popular transportation option. Our stations will offer convenient locations and enable drivers to refuel in about the same time it would take at a conventional gasoline station.”
The four stations along Interstate 79 will be located in Charleston, Jane Lew and Bridgeport in West Virginia and in Mount Morris, Pa. Construction of the CNG stations is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013.
IGS Energy CNG Services reportedly chose West Virginia for its CNG corridor because of the state’s movement toward policies encouraging the CNG industry.
This highlights the role politics is to play in the growth and development of CNG. Government programs, such as the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities initiative, have worked to find funding for the promotion of natural gas vehicles and CNG filling stations. Congress, in its last hours of fiscal cliff negotiations, has extended tax incentives for CNG infrastructure. Businesses can enjoy a tax credit of up to $30,000 on the construction of a CNG filling station. And, anyone purchasing compressed natural gas as a vehicle fuel can claim 50 cents on every gallon used.
It seems as thought the CNG game of chicken is coming to an end. This is good news for investors, consumers, and the United States government, for all will all benefit from the increased prevalence of compressed natural gas. And, given recent market trends, Americans are finding the “who comes first” CNG dilemma to be irrelevant. In fact, in all aspects of CNG, it seems the new dilemma is whoever comes last is a rotten egg.