Find out how an alternative fuel used all over the world may find its way into American vehicles. Natural gas is abundant, clean and already a part of our everyday lives—and it may be the next big alternative fuel.
In the world of alternative fuels, electric, hydrogen and even hybrid vehicles get most of the attention. Not many people are aware of another alternative automotive fuel that burns cleaner than gasoline, is found abundantly in the United States and is already in heavy use around the world: natural gas. Natural gas is by no means a new fuel; it’s been used to heat homes and cook food in gas stoves for more than a century. But only recently have automotive technicians begun exploring the possibility of using natural gas as an alternative to gasoline in automobiles here in the United States.
When used in automobiles, natural gas comes in two forms:
Compressed natural gas (CNG)
Liquefied natural gas (LNG)
Both forms require storage in cylinders that are often located in the trunk of the vehicle. When being burned by an engine, natural gas works very similarly to gasoline; vehicles that run on natural gas will have spark plug timing and compression optimized for that type of fuel.