As of right now there is only one mainstream vehicle that run solely off of natural gas in the United States, the Honda (HMC)Civic GX. However, this car is only sold in the populous states of California and New York. Ford and GM, both American car manufacturers, produce natural gas powered vehicles, but have not yet begun selling them within the United States. These two companies are only selling their lines of natural gas powered cars in Europe.
While the Civic GX is the only car prefabricated to run on natural gas and available in the U.S. consumer auto market, natural gas vehicles are available for a great many fleet applications. Methane-powered municipal trucks and transit buses have become increasingly common sights as local governments look for opportunities to reduce oil dependence by taking advantage of a fuel that is more inexpensive and burns cleaner than diesel. While natural gas may be limited to the solo NGV enthusiast and adventurer in terms of its appeal to the consumer auto market, the appeal of a cheaper fuel to a fleet owner who fills consistently at the same location every night is obvious.
Natural gas might not be a silver bullet as some of the industry’s advertisements would suggest, but it is certainly one piece of the energy diversity puzzle, and it behooves us to appreciate its potential at the very least for alleviating that burning sensation in the wallet caused by some of our more expensive fuels.
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