Why Natural Gas Hasn’t Dethroned Gasoline

By Irina Slav, OilPrice.com.

In some parts of the world, such as the Balkans, gasoline cars retrofitted with natural gas tanks are a common sight on roads. In others, such the United States, such vehicles are a rarity. This might sound strange given the abundance of cheap natural gas that the United States has been enjoying in recent years. There are companies working to make the cleaner fossil fuel an alternative to gasoline, yet the chances of natural gas to replace gasoline remain slim—at least for now. But why not?

First, why is natural gas being used as a vehicle fuel at all? It’s cheaper than gasoline, that’s for sure. It is also a lot better on the emissions front and it has comparable engine efficiency rates to gasoline cars. What’s even better, natural gas is a safer fuel: it is lighter than air and dissipates in case of an accident, unlike liquid gasoline. Gas car skeptics would say that the gas tank, normally placed in the back of the vehicle, is an explosion hazard, although the risk is not as great with modern, professionally fitted gas tanks.