With gasoline prices stubbornly over $4.00 per gallon, what can be done to lower your fuel costs while becoming energy independent as a country? The solution is easier than you might think.
Let’s start with something simple like your car. With natural gas prices at multi-year lows and fuel costs at less than half that of gasoline, is it time to consider getting an a natural gas (NGV) powered vehicle?
Let’s start with the basics. For 1,000 cubic feet of natural gas, a NGV can go 224 miles. An electric car which would use natural gas that has been converted to electricity yields 457 miles. On this count, the EV is a more efficient way to use natural gas.
When driving, you have to refuel. Gas wins hands down on this count while EVs come in second. A simple 240 volt charging station costs about $2,000 but takes three to eight hours to recharge a car. The fast charging electric refueling station costs approximately $50,000 with a recharge taking about 30 minutes. NGV stations using compress natural gas (CNG) cost $750,000 to install meaning that government subsidies are the only way to roll out this fueling option in the near-term for any users that do not have large fleets of vehicles that can return to their home base each night.
On time and distance between refuelings, NGVs stand toe-to-toe with traditional gasoline powered vehicles. On cost to operate, NGVs cost half as much as the traditional vehicle. Given the lack of refueling stations for NGVs and the short distance that a pure EV can travel without a refueling, hybrid EVs are the only workable solution for you and me as of today unless your travel stays close to home or know where to refuel whether that be natural gas or electric.
The solution to greater usage of natural gas in the powering of our vehicles is also the way we will become energy independent as a country.
Last year, I had lunch with Dick Heckmann, a national proponent for Liquified Natural Gas (LNG). The difference between LNG and condensed natural gas (CNG) is density. A LNG tank can hold 2.4 times the fuel of a CNG tank and needs 40% less space than the traditional diesel fuel tank. Heckmann told me that we could eliminate all reliance on Middle Eastern by converting our trucking fleet that travels only the southern routes of the United States to LNG. For that reason alone, converting to LNG makes sense. Thinking this through a little bit more, our fuel costs would go down by more than half while our country would no longer be held hostage politically or economically to foreign powers. All of the monies sent offshore to buy oil would be kept in this country. If we could eliminate that cash drain on our country, it is safe to guess that the current Great Recession would end quickly.
If that is not enough of a reason to convert our trucking fleet to LNG, the United States has nearly a 400 year supply of this fuel type making the United States the Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq of natural gas all rolled into one. Cost of deployment? As little as $5 billion or $15 for every man, woman and child in this country.
So why don’t we begin the switch to this inexpensive and clean fuel source?
When you consider the havoc reliance on foreign fuel has caused to our economy, this seems like a no brainer. Unfortunately, vested interests have stood in the way of the deployment of this fueling option which is in the best interests of all Americans except for those in the oil industry.


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