Natural gas is an odorless, gaseous mixture of hydrocarbons—predominantly made up of methane (CH4). It accounts for about 30% of the energy used in the United States. About 40% of the fuel goes to electric power production and the remaining is split between residential and commercial uses, such as heating and cooking, and industrial uses. Although natural gas is a proven, reliable alternative fuel that has long been used to power natural gas vehicles, only about two-tenths of 1% is used for transportation fuel.
The vast majority of natural gas in the United States is considered a fossil fuel because it is made from sources formed over millions of years by the action of heat and pressure on organic materials.
Compressed Natural Gas, CNG, is produced by compressing natural gas to less than 1% of its volume at standard atmospheric pressure. To provide adequate driving range, CNG is stored onboard a vehicle in a compressed gaseous state at a pressure up to 3,600 pounds per square inch.
CNG is used in light-, medium-, and heavy-duty applications. A CNG-powered vehicle gets about the same fuel economy as a conventional gasoline vehicle on a GGE basis. One GGE equals about 5.66 pounds of CNG.
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