Natural gas for transportation coming soon

Houston Chronicle:
 The United States has record supplies of natural gas and plenty of reasons to promote natural-gas powered cars, but so consumers, manufacturers and fuel suppliers haven’t shown much interest.
Now, a major natural gas developer’s plans to vastly increase the number of truck stops that offer liquid natural gas could help boost its use in the vehicles that burn the most fuel, while promoting its availability to a wider market.
Lots of natural gas is available, if U.S. drivers decide to use it. In just a few years, domestic natural gas supplies have increased by trillions of cubic feet through shale finds, boosting the supply to the point where plans are in place to export part of the overflow.
The growth of natural gas vehicles in the United States so far has been dominated by fleets of buses, taxis, and garbage haulers. Only one natural gas car is commercially produced in the country: the Honda Civic GX, recently renamed the NG. It has sold a grand total of about 13,000 in 13 years of production.
The reasons for the lackluster sales of natural gas cars are many: the fuel is only available at a handful of public stations, tethering the vehicles within a certain distance of a fuel source. And even though the pump price of natural gas can run $1 to $2 less per gallon equivalent than gasoline, natural gas vehicles carry a higher sticker price.
The focus for the natural gas vehicle industry in the United States has been the fuel-guzzlers: commercial vehicles, especially tractor-trailer rigs.
Rich Kolodziej, president of the trade association NGV America, says that makes sense in terms of overall fuel usage. He said a driver who puts 12,000 miles a year on a car at 25 miles to the gallon will use about 500 gallons of gasoline annually. But a diesel-driven 18-wheeler can easily go 120,000 miles a year. At six miles per gallon, that comes to 20,000 gallons.
“If you’re trying to reduce foreign imports of oil, you’re trying to reduce greenhouse gases and emissions in urban areas, where do you put your effort? You put it on the big vehicles,” Kolodziej said.
For reasons of tank space, liquid natural gas is used by commercial trucks, while compressed natural gas is the fuel of choice for cars.
... 
Gas to liquid technology is going to make it easier to establish fuel stops within the existing infrastructure.  Shell has been using the technology in some refineries in other countries and there is no reason it could not be available here with our abundant natural gas resources.  At current diesel prices drivers could save close to $2 a gallon before taxes.  You can bet that Congress will be looking to tax the fuel as soon as the infrastructure is in place.  With the cost differential there is little need for additional incentives for conversion for the big rigs.

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