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Fueling the future with natural gas: Part 2

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

This continues to highlight the findings of the report which was initially discussed in part one which can be found here.

Natural gas markets

Natural gas use in transportation may be in its infancy but it represents a high potential growth area, particularly in terms of trucks. Oil’s dominance in the vehicle market is more vulnerable to competition from natural gas vehicles (NGVs) than at any other time due to a wide price difference between oil and natural gas that is expected to continue. Retail gasoline and diesel prices are expected to be twice as high for equivalent energy content than residential natural gas prices through 2035.

Natural gas heavy duty vehicles (HDVs) are currently the main source of natural gas growth in the transportation sector, according to the report. These vehicles are best positioned to overcome challenges such as higher up front costs and sparse refuelling networks. The high mileage that these vehicles travel in many cases allows them to recoup upfront costs through fuel savings in less than three years and the high volume of traffic over the same routes also makes the development of a refuelling network more viable.

The report continues to examine the challenges to natural gas fuelled light duty vehicles (LDVs) including those proposed by current consumer habits and public policy, and suggests potential ways to overcome these challenges. But, the growth of the HDV market for natural gas has the potential to lead the way for later growth in the LDVs.


Tim Gardner, IHS vice president and global head of power, gas, coal and renewables said, ‘the newly abundant natural gas resource base presents an opportunity to rethink our approach to natural gas use. In the past, when natural gas was thought to be a scarce resource, we tried to limit its use. Now that technology has greatly expanded our ability to produce natural gas at relatively low cost, we can look for more ways to capitalise on the economic, efficiency and environmental advantages that natural gas offers.’

Mary Barcella, IHS director North American natural gas said, ‘greater use of natural gas can help improve overall energy efficiency and reduce energy costs when it is used to displace less efficient and more expensive sources of energy. Regulators and policy makers need to consider how best to adapt their state and local regulations to the new realities of natural gas availability and cost.’

Adapted from a press release by Claira Lloyd.

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