Summer is here and so is road trip season. As drivers around the world pack up for family vacations, many look for ways to lower costs. The benefits of natural gas savings may just be what they’re looking for!
The market for NGVs is rapidly gaining traction around the world, with fueling infrastructure also expanding to meet rising demand. Last summer, a team of geologists from the Arkansas and Texas offices of Southwestern Energy Corp. traveled 2,782 miles to an annual industry convention in Long Beach, Calif. in three CNG-fueled cars. In addition to reducing the carbon footprint of their trip, the geologists saved 51% on fuel, amounting to more than $300 in savings per vehicle.
While some lucky road-trippers can enjoy natural gas savings with help from their employers, some of which are starting to lend CNG-fueled trucks or SUVs to employees, others have to convert their own vehicles, a process that costs about $5,000-$8,000 per vehicle. What seems like a hefty sum at first, however, ultimately yields significant savings to those who travel long distances on a daily basis or even several times a year.
In the U.S., the average cost of a CNG gallon-equivalent is $2.11, compared to $3.65 per gallon of regular gasoline. Furthermore, CNG use prevents carbon buildup in engines, extending their lifespans and lowering maintenance costs over the long-run.
CNG fueling stations are also becoming easier to find in Europe and the U.S., allowing drivers to enjoy uninterrupted travel without worrying about refueling challenges. Some companies have introduced smartphone apps to help NGV drivers plan their routes with CNG fuel access in mind. For example, LPG CNG Finder, a new android app, helps drivers find LPG or CNG fueling stations in Europe while Chesapeake Energy’s CNG Fuel Finder helps U.S. drivers find nearby stations and check fuel prices while they are on the go.
Those interested in taking the CNG plunge can calculate their potential savings by inputting the average number of miles they drive per week along with their vehicle’s miles per gallon and local price per gallon of diesel into an online calculator. Try it out before your next trip. Odds are the extra savings will come in handy for roadside snacks or a souvenir.