With depleting reserves of crude oil and our dependence on foreign countries for import of crude oil is increasing. It is important to start using clean, inexpensive and abundantly available natural gas as a fuel in vehicles. Natural gas vehicles are good for our environment as well as for our economy. Government incentives and unprecedented industry investment spurred the demand of natural gas and available services. Natural gas is a clean alternative fuel that is low cost and environmental friendly than conventional fuels such as gasoline or diesel. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) is produced from natural gas that offers various environmental, economic and policy benefits.
Natural gas vehicles generally cost more than petrol or diesel vehicles. This is mainly due to the cost of high-pressure insulated fuel tank which is required to store LNG or CNG. Savings in the fuel costs can make significant savings over the life of a vehicle, depends on the number of miles driven and fuel efficiency. Huge amount of savings are currently seen in heavy-duty and high mileage fleets. These types of vehicles consume large quantity of fuel for owners and operators to see a pay back in as little as 1-1.5 years. As cost of the fuel tanks decreases, light-duty passenger vehicles will be less costly and also enjoys a shorter payback period.
Exhaust emissions arising from natural gas vehicles are lower in comparison to gasoline and diesel vehicles. Honda Civic has been recognized by the U.S. environmental protection agency (EPA) as the cleanest and commercially available vehicle. Exhaust emissions accounts for a significant portion of the emissions associated with operations in conventional fuel driven vehicles. Natural gas vehicles on the other hand produce negligible emissions during fueling and use.
As per the analysis of Argonne National Lab well analysis that uses the current U.S. EPA figures natural gas vehicles enjoy emissions reductions in both new and operational gasoline and diesel driven vehicles. It is one of the clean alternative transportation fuels abundantly available today and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by high amount when compared with other fuels such as diesel and gasoline.
Exhaust emissions from natural gas vehicles when compared with gasoline and diesel vehicles offer significant amount of reductions in common urban pollutants such as: Carbon monoxide, Non-methane organic gas, Nitrogen oxides and Carbon dioxide. Conversion of a new vehicle provide huge opportunity to save fuel cost and hence pays back the cost for conversion and generate savings throughout life. The cost includes related brackets, the retrofit system, fuel tanks and cost for installation. The quantity of fuel asked by the customer significantly impacts the cost.
Stringent government regulations and participation by industry are some of the key drivers of natural gas vehicles market. However, high operational cost and capital cost in the manufacturing of natural gas vehicles can hamper the market’s growth in future. Increasing pollution level brings new opportunities for natural gas vehicles in the coming years.
Some of the key players in the business of natural gas vehicles are Honda Motor Company Ltd, Isuzu Motors Ltd, AB Volvo, Caterpillar Inc, Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Company, Renault SA, Toyota Motor Corporation, General Motors Company and Suzuki Motor Corporation Ltd among others.
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- Asia Pacific
- Middle East and Africa
- Latin America
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