Natural gas vehicles can run on either compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG and CNG fueling infrastructure has grown over the past several years, and recently, companies in the private sector have announced plans to invest in infrastructure and new technology.
Currently, the vast majority of vehicles that use natural gas are powered by CNG, and over 900 of these fueling stations exist in the United States, with more than 50 percent restricted to private access only. The state with the most CNG fueling stations is California with more than 200, followed by New York with more than 100. Most of the 45 LNG fueling stations in the U.S. are also located in California. CNG stations reached levels greater than 1,400 in the late 1990s. Since then, the largest declines have occurred in Georgia, Texas, Ohio, and New Mexico, while California and New York have seen increases. The General Electric Company, Chesapeake Energy Corporation, and Clean Energy Fuels Corporation each recently announced initiatives to expand natural gas vehicle fueling infrastructure.
Natural gas is used mostly as a fuel for large fleets of vehicles, such as trucks and buses, although Honda manufactures a Civic that runs on natural gas. This week, both General Motors and Chrysler announced plans to manufacture natural-gas powered pickup trucks.
(For the Week Ending Wednesday, March 14, 2012)
- Persistent warmer-than-normal temperatures throughout the report week contributed to the lengthening downward trend in natural gas prices across much of the country. The Henry Hub price closed at $2.13 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) on March 14, down 11 cents for the week.
- At the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), the April 2012 natural gas contract fell 1.8 cents per MMBtu for the week to close at $2.284 per MMBtu.
- Working natural gas in storage fell last week to 2,369 billion cubic feet (Bcf) as of Friday, March 9, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (WNGSR). The implied net withdrawal for the week was 64 Bcf, positioning storage volumes 735 Bcf above year-ago levels.
- The natural gas rotary rig count, as reported March 9 by Baker Hughes Incorporated, fell for the ninth consecutive week, decreasing by 21 to 670 active units, 24 percent below last year’s level for the week and the lowest count since July 2009. Meanwhile, the oil-directed rig count rose by 3 to 1296, 57 percent above the year-ago level.