The ability to extract natural gas from shale has vastly increased proven reserves. The United States alone has more than 338 trillion cubic feet of reserves— the world has over 6 quadrillion.
The abundance of available natural gas has kept its price lower than diesel or gasoline. In fact, CNG has historically been more than 30-40% cheaper at the pump than gasoline or diesel. In diesel equivalent gallons (DGE), CNG users can expect savings of $1.00 to $2.00 per DGE over time. As global demand for oil increases and proven CNG reserves continue to rise that cost differential is likely to increase.
The savings of using CNG vs. diesel adds up fast, generally leading to a 3-year ROI. Here’s a hypothetical example:
CNG at $2.00 vs. Diesel at $2.82 average—a 0.82 cent per gallon difference. Plus fleets have contract deals with fueling stations where they could get $1.70 – $1.90 per Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE). The savings could add up to $16,000 a year (5 miles per gallon) with CNG.
Natural gas will remain plentiful for generations to come. It’s the cleanest burning fossil fuel, so its use will likely remain less controversial than the use of oil or coal. What’s more, because of the clean burning attributes of natural gas, Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) generally have longer engine life compared to most gasoline-powered vehicles.
All of this is why more and more fleet managers are seeing the benefits of natural gas: lower fuel costs, longer equipment cycles, increased energy security, and reduced environmental impact.