Cleaner, But Still Fossil Fuels
Powering a vehicle with natural gas is cleaner than powering it with gasoline or diesel (much improved tailpipe emissions of NOx & PM, and about 25% lower CO2), so more cars and trucks running on compressed natural gas (CNG) would be a step in the right direction. We would still need to move rapidly to a no-carbon source of energy, but at least it would help reduce smog in the meantime. That's why its good news that the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a $150 million bill investing in improving natural gas vehicles and the infrastructure to refuel them.
The release says:
H.R. 1622 – a bill that [directs] the Secretary of Energy to: (1) conduct a five-year program of natural gas vehicle research, development, and demonstration; and (2) coordinate with the natural gas vehicle industry and with the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding streamlining the certification of natural gas conversion systems to federal certification requirements and in-use emission standards.
The 5-year program will have a budget of $30 million per year, for a total of $150 million. "The bill also seeks to improve the reliability and efficiency of natural gas fueling station infrastructure and boost the use of natural gas engines in hybrid vehicles," according to Detroit News.
There are about 10 million vehicles worldwide that run on CNG, but only about 142,000 of them are in the United States, so there's lots of room for improvement. The most logical place to start is probably with buses and garbage trucks. They spend all days spewing diesel smoke in densely populated areas.
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