Natural gas vehicles – or NGVs – provide an attractive alternative to gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles in many commercial fleet operations.
In 2010, DTE Energy started replacing our service vans with new NGVs. We've joined thousands of other fleet owners across the country that are taking advantage of the many benefits NGVs offer. We can help you make the switch, too.
What are NGVs?
NGVs are cars or trucks that are fueled by natural gas instead of gasoline or diesel. They can be bought new, or an existing gasoline-powered vehicle can be converted to operate on natural gas. Some NGVs run only on natural gas; others can switch between natural gas and gasoline.
NGVs that only use natural gas deliver the best performance because their engines are designed to take advantage of the fuel’s high octane. Natural gas has an octane rating of 130, compared with gasoline that typically ranges between 87 and 93.
Bi-fuel NGVs are powered by both natural gas and gasoline. This allows you to still use your vehicles even if you are unable to reach a natural gas refueling station right away.
Benefits of using NGVs
Compared to their gasoline- and diesel-powered counterparts, NGVs offer a number of benefits:
- Reduced maintenance costs. Because natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline, NGVs can go longer between oil changes and engine tune-ups.
- Reduced fuel costs. An equivalent gallon of natural gas costs, on average, about one-third less than conventional gasoline or diesel at the pump. It also costs less than other fuels, including ethanol, methanol and propane.
- Less wear and tear on vehicles. Natural gas does not react to metals the same way gasoline does. The pipes and mufflers on NGVs last longer. NGVs also experience less knocking, no vapor locking, and start up and drive more smoothly.
Reduced impact on the environment. Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel for vehicles. On average, the carbon footprint for an NGV will be 25 to 28 percent less than its gasoline- or diesel-powered equivalent. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, NGVs:
- Reduce carbon-monoxide emissions 90 to 97 percent.
- Reduce carbon-dioxide emissions 25 percent.
- Reduce nitrogen-oxide emissions 35 to 60 percent.
- Potentially reduce non-methane hydrocarbon emissions 50 to 75 percent.
- Emit fewer toxic and carcinogenic pollutants.
- Emit little or no particulate matter.
- Eliminate evaporative emissions.
- Reduced dependence on imported oil and increased energy security. NGVs are fueled by a natural resource that the United States has in abundant supply. About 86 percent of the natural gas currently used in the U.S. is supplied by domestic sources. Most of the remaining usage is supplied by Canada. At the same time, natural gas reserves in the U.S. have been increasing as new drilling technologies make it possible to tap into unconventional sources. It’s now estimated that domestic supplies are sufficient to meet U.S. natural gas demand for more than 100 years. This ample supply makes it possible for us to increase the use of natural gas and reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy and imported oil.
- Easy to refuel and safe to drive. NGVs are as easy to refuel as other vehicles, and actually safer to operate.
The NGV Safety Advantage
NGVs are safer to use than gas-powered vehicles. Their fuel systems are sealed to prevent spills or evaporative losses. Their fuel storage cylinders are much stronger and provide better crash protection, making accidental ignition or combustion unlikely.
If a leak were to occur in an NGV, the natural gas would dissipate into the atmosphere because natural gas is lighter than air. Gasoline, on the other hand, pools on the ground, creating a fire hazard. Natural gas also is non-toxic and will not contaminate groundwater.
For more information on how we can help you switch your fleet to NGVs, contact us – or call us at 888.FUELNGV (888.383.5648).