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Compressed Natural Gas in the State of California

All across the nation, car manufacturers, governments, researchers, and consumers alike are looking for a better, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly alternative to the use of traditional high emitting fossil fuels in private and publicly owned vehicles.  While there have been a number of solutions offered, created, and marketed, however, none seem to be making it into the mainstream.  Many consumers worry about the availability of fuels or charging options, while for others, the cost effectiveness of a vehicle versus the availability of energy for it certainly play a role.  Compressed natural gas is an excellent alternative to fossil fuels, and California is working hard to make it accessible to the population.

There is much for consumers to appreciate about compressed natural gas.  It is odorless and non-corrosive, weighs less than air, does not increase carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, and is considerably greener than traditional fuels.  But what many are quick to note is that, unlike oil, over 99% of our natural gas comes from North America.  While greatly increasing our consumption of the substance will change this, research indicates that the percentage of compressed natural gas imported from countries outside North America would still be far lower than our current rate of oil import.

While many states have been slow to address consumer demand for compressed natural gas, the state of California is working hard to make it available as widely as possible.  The state operates over 1,200 natural gas wells and produces a fair percentage of the compressed natural gas used within the state themselves.  There are a number of utilities that distribute the fuel to their customers.  In terms of vehicle refueling stations, there are actually a fair number set up throughout the state.  Most of these are run by local governments and private companies.

In addition to the CNG refueling stations that have been set up throughout the state, it is also possible for California consumers to purchase a device called Phill.  This unique device allows users to refuel their vehicles overnight from home using their own natural gas lines.  This can be time consuming and perhaps a bit limiting, but considering that compressed natural gas is hovering somewhere around half the cost of traditional gasoline and diesel, it may certainly be worthwhile.  CNG is gaining rapidly in popularity and may prove to be a very viable alternative to our current fuel options.

UPS Deploys 245 New CNG-Powered Trucks

“Compressed Natural Gas continues to be a sustainable technology for UPS’s fleet” – Bob Stoffel, UPS Senior VP

UPS has deployed 245 new delivery trucks powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) to cities in Colorado and California. The vehicles are part of UPS’s continued effort to reduce its emissions from the use of fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel and lower its carbon footprint. The trucks, built from scratch as CNG vehicles, join more than 900 CNG vehicles already in use by UPS worldwide.

The CNG truck bodies are identical externally to the signature-brown trucks that comprise the UPS fleet. Marked with decals as CNG vehicles, the trucks are expected to yield a 15 percent emissions reduction over the cleanest diesel engines available in the market today.

“The greening of our fleet demonstrates the effectiveness of harnessing multiple technologies and applying the right vehicles to areas where they will provide the best advantage,” said Bob Stoffel, UPS senior vice president of supply chain, strategy, engineering and sustainability. “Compressed Natural Gas continues to be a sustainable technology for UPS’s fleet because natural gas is cost effective, clean-burning and abundant.”

UPS, a member of the EPA Climate Leaders, first deployed CNG-powered delivery trucks in the 1980s. At the time, UPS purchased traditional gas- or diesel-driven vehicles and converted them to run on compressed gas.

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