You probably have heard of hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles, but do you know what a natural gas vehicle is? In short, a natural gas vehicle (NGV) is an alternative fuel vehicle that uses compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a cleaner alternative to other fossil fuels. CNG-powered vehicles are generally considered to be safer than the traditional gasoline-based vehicles.
Natural gas vehicles should not be confused with vehicles powered by propane (LPG), which is a fuel with a fundamentally different composition.
Currently, there are around 14.8 million natural gas vehicles worldwide.
Existing gasoline-powered vehicles may be converted to run on CNG or LNG, and have the option of running only on natural gas (dedicated) or running on either gasoline or natural gas (bi-fuel.)
Additionally, diesel engines for large trucks and busses can also be converted (and dedicated) with the addition of new heads containing spark ignition systems or can run on a blend of diesel and natural gas, with the primary fuel being natural gas and a small amount of diesel fuel being.
Despite an increasing number of vehicles worldwide being manufactured to run on CNG, there weren't too many options available in the US market until recently when Ford, GM, and Ram started offerings bi-fuel options in their vehicle lineup.
NGV filling stations can be located anywhere that natural gas lines exist. Compressors (CNG) or liquefaction plants (LNG) are usually built on large scale, but small home refueling stations are also possible for CNG.
CNG vehicles also have their flaws, mainly because the limitations of using natural gas; CNG must be stored in high pressure cylinders, and LNG must be stored in cryogenic cylinders. These cylinders can take up way more space than gasoline/diesel. CNG tanks are usually located in the vehicle's trunk or pickup bed, which significantly reduces cargo space. Furthermore, the low number of CNG and LNG stations can also create great inconvenience.
As you already know, before you make the decision to purchase a natural gas vehicle, it will be important to weigh the pros and cons. As vehicles are expensive and often meant to last a long period of time, you don’t want to waste your money or time.
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