Natural gas is a hydrocarbon consisting mostly of methane, but also other gases like propane and butane. The majority of natural gas is produced by the extraction of oil and gas, but it can also be created through more natural processes like the decomposition of organic material to create biogas. Natural gas is a very clean-burning fuel, the cleanest of all hydrocarbons with an octane rating of over 120, which makes it a great fuel for transportation.
Over 90% of the natural gas used in the United States is produced domestically, so the use of natural gas in the transportation sector supports local economies and promotes US energy independence. The most common form of natural gas is compressed natural gas (CNG), which is compressed at around 3600 psi to maintain an energy density similar to gasoline. Natural gas can also be liquefied to increase its density and therefore extend the range of a vehicle by cooling the gas to -265 degrees Fahrenheit, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) is used in heavy-duty applications where a lot of fuel is consumed in a short time frame.
In addition to being domestically produced and cleaner burning than gasoline or diesel, natural gas is also abundant and cheap. A gasoline gallon equivalent of natural gas is cheaper on average than gasoline and is expected to remain consistently lower in the near future as estimated by the Energy Information Administration. Natural gas is cheaper, cleaner, and more domestic than gasoline or diesel.
We worked with the Colorado Energy Office to develop a great website, Refuel Colorado, that covers the details of each alternative fuel, including: