Governors ask Detroit for natural gas vehicles

August 3, 2012 12:00 AM

There are not many options for the consumer looking for a light-duty car, van or truck that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). Right now the only option for a passenger car is the Honda Civic, which has brought a call to action to make these fuel efficient vehicles more mainstream.

NPR reports 20 state governors are asking Detroit to develop a vehicle that runs on natural gas to increase the availability of compatible vehicles to consumers, which in turn will increase the demand for the domestically-produced fuel. Additionally, increasing the demand for natural gas will create more domestic jobs could spike the need for a higher production, leading to more jobs.

Natural gas emits "half the pollutants that come out of traditional gasoline. It's way less expensive - probably $2 per gallon equivalent less expensive right now - than burning regular gasoline. And it creates all the jobs here - we don't [have to] send billions of dollars to foreign dictatorships," Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper told NPR.

The fuel is abundant in the U.S. now that advances have been made in gas drilling known as hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The natural gas industry was still trying to figure out how much gas could be produced when the federal government turned their focus to electric cars.

Made mostly from methane, natural gas is 60-90 percent less smog-producing and emits 30-40 percent less greenhouse gas, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Those who are interested in trying this form of fuel may have a difficult time finding it due to low demand.

However, some people may prefer natural gas vehicles because they require less auto maintenance. According to How Stuff Works, because the gas burns cleaner, it means less wear and tear on the engine, and ultimately less auto repair.

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