Costly home-refueling unit is impeding US adoption of CNG vehicles

Article by Anita Panait, on October 8, 2013

Natural gas is much a cheaper fuel than the traditional gasoline. So, why are people not so quick to shift from petrol vehicles to natural gas-powered ones? If there is something that prevents the driving public in the United States to adopt natural gas-powered vehicles, it is the high cost of getting a home refueling unit. Reuters told the case of information technology manager Connie Jones, who along her husband Travis, drives a Honda Civic GX. With natural gas priced at $1.40 per equivalent gallon, the Joneses only have to spend $30 monthly to drive their Civic GX around 1,200 miles each month – around $130 less than an average gasoline car covering the same distance. Home refueling units work by tapping into a house natural gas main and compress the fuel so it can fill a vehicle tank overnight. Home refilling remains uncommon in the US, even though it offers cheaper fuel

This could be attributed to the fact that those who want the system have to shell out a considerable amount of money to buy and install new home refilling units. Likewise, there is an apparent lack of natural gas cars, which are around $10,000 pricier than comparable conventional vehicles. Curtis Martin, program director of the government-funded Clean Cities Coalition in Antelope Valley, Calif. remarked to Reuters that "affordable home refueling is the missing link to public adoption of natural gas vehicles in far greater numbers."

But with a boom in U.S. natural gas drilling, it’s hoped that lower prices of such fuel will be sustained. Likewise, appliance companies like General Electric Co., Whirlpool Corp. and Eaton Corp. are developing more affordable home refueling systems, which will only cost around a tenth of the price of current models, plus installation. Also energy providers in Georgia, California and Utah are holding discussions about distributing new refueling units when they become available in the next two years, according to Reuters’ interviews with industry executives.

Topics: cng

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