Apr
19

5 Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas

Go au natural this Earth Day with natural gas! As the most diversified fuel in the U.S., natural gas heats our homes, business, restaurants and schools just to name a few. It also powers vehicles, stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, lighting fixtures and other appliances. And, it can even generate electricity and run air conditioners.

Natural gas is the ultimate alternative fuel of the future—and it’s fueling a better earth. It’s abundant, efficient, affordable and cleaner burning compared to other fossil fuels. We’re taking a moment on Earth Day 2017 to reflect on the environmental benefits of natural gas because our Earth is worth it. To learn more, check out this infographic.

5 Environmental Benefits of Natural Gas Infographic - Gas South

Is Natural Gas Better for the Environment than Other Fuels?

Here are five reasons why natural gas is a good choice for the planet.

  1. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel and a highly efficient form of energy.
  2. The simple chemical composition of natural gas lends itself to fewer impurities and generally results in less pollution.
  3. Using natural gas instead of oil or coal produces less chemicals that contribute to greenhouse gases, acid rain, smog, and other harmful forms of pollution.
  4. Natural gas promotes the use of other clean energy sources. It’s used as a raw material in lightweight cars, wind power blades, solar panels, and energy-efficient materials.
  5. Approximately 90 percent of natural gas produced is delivered to customers as useful energy. By comparison, only 30 percent of energy converted to electricity reaches consumers.
Sep
14

CNG: The Next Big Kid on the Alt-Vehicle Block?

One of Our Employees Thinks So

Alternative fueled vehicles have attracted a lot of attention in the last few years, but the media buzz has mostly centered around electrics due to improved battery efficiency and Tesla’s loud arrival on the scene. However, petroleum has another competitor looming on the horizon: compressed natural gas (CNG). Yes, the same fuel used to heat your home also powers many of the commercial and transportation vehicles you see on the road every day. Last year, for example, MARTA announced plans to buy 270 new CNG buses, adding to the 420 already in its fleet.

With an abundance of domestic reserves to draw from and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, a 90- to 97- percent reduction of carbon monoxide emissions versus petroleum, CNG is primed for continued growth. We’ve also seen significant enhancements to CNG’s commercial infrastructure and an increase of refueling stations. In Georgia, Gas South has helped lead the way by supplying stations, transit systems and waste management fleets with natural gas.

How long will it be until you’re fueling up on CNG? Probably not for a few years, but don’t rule it out in the future. CNG vehicles are already being introduced into the consumer marketplace, albeit without media fanfare, and by most measures they’re showing early promise. In fact, one of our mid-market sales account managers, Craig Hallerman, recently acquired one, a 2016 Chevrolet Impala hybrid. So, we thought it’d be a great idea to share his thoughts on his new ride, which has been attracting a lot of attention among travelers and car enthusiasts on Atlanta’s highways.

Q: Why did you take the plunge and get a CNG vehicle?
A: “I wasn’t in the market for an alternative fueled vehicle but because I work in the natural gas industry, I looked into it. Gas South took care of wrapping the car in company branding because I do a lot of driving, so it gets lots of visibility – and compliments. I average about 500 miles a week, and as a clean-burning fuel, CNG is considered better for the life of an engine, so that’s something that caught my interest.”   

Q: How does the car perform in general – notice any major differences?
A: “It’s super nice and really comfy. Honestly, it feels like I’m driving a regular Chevy.”

Q: But it’s a hybrid, meaning it runs on gas and CNG. Sounds complicated. Is it?
A: “Not really. There are two separate tanks – a traditional gas tank and the natural gas tank is behind the back seat. There are also two fuel gauges – the car defaults to natural gas until it runs out, and then it switches to the regular gas tank.”

Q: Tell us how you go about fueling the vehicle.
A: “I don’t have a home-fueling device so I go to a commercial station to fill up on natural gas. There are 15 stations in the city, including one that’s on my way home.”     

Q: Fuel efficiency is a major reason why people look at alternative fuel options. Are you noticing any differences between the two?
A: “On the highway, natural gas certainly gets better mileage but regular gas seems to do better in the city. Right now, I’m averaging in the high 20s on the highway and about 18-20 in the city.”

Q: Have you found any other perks of driving an alternative fueled vehicle?A: “Yes, one big one: less traffic because Georgia gives alternative fueled vehicles HOV-lane access. That makes it easier driving around Atlanta, especially during rush hour…and my job requires a lot of driving.”

Q: Is obtaining a CNG vehicle the same as you would expect for a regular car?
A: “It’s different. It started with a conversation with GM reps and then I went to a dealership to build the car. It was a six month process. The Impala was built in Canada and then sent to Detroit for outfitting.”

Q: How long can you drive on the tanks before refueling?
A: “I can go up to 500 miles before running out of gas, which means that I can use the vehicle for all of my needs.”

Have a story to share about a CNG vehicle or a question for Craig about his car? Just let us know in the comments.

Apr
4

Let’s clear the air: Tax credit for low-emissions commercial vehicles is a wise investment in our future

Too often, public discourse about our environment dissolves into zero-sum game arguments, with any potential policy change tallied as a win for either “green” advocates or big business. This line of thinking is predicated on a misguided assumption: that the interests of these two parties are necessarily at odds.

Fortunately in Georgia, that’s simply not the case. Consider House Bill 348, a common-sense piece of legislation sponsored by State Rep. Don Parsons, R-Marietta, that passed the General Assembly last week with strong bi-partisan support.

The legislation establishes tax credits for commercial alternative fuel vehicles purchased in Georgia. That could mean a delivery van powered by natural gas, or a service truck that runs on electricity.

The goal is to create meaningful incentives for companies to upgrade their fleets and put more low-emission vehicles on our state’s roads and highways. This legislation also helps us to remain competitive with other states like Florida and Oklahoma that have enacted laws that have accelerated the adoption of alternative fuel vehicles.

Georgia is a transportation hub, and our logistics industry is a major contributor to our economy and jobs.  However, motor vehicle exhaust is also one of the largest contributors to poor air quality in Georgia, exacerbating a host of respiratory and circulatory issues, from asthma to heart disease.

The impact is far-reaching: In Cobb alone, more than 15,000 children and nearly 150,000 adults have asthma, according to the American Lung Association.  The cost of dirty air is measured in school absences, doctor’s visits, trips to the emergency room, and hospital admissions.

Clean energy vehicles that run on natural gas or electricity can help to keep our economy strong while also reducing harmful smog causing emissions by up to 90 percent. They also reduce our reliance on oil imports.

House Bill 348 specifically covers commercial vehicles powered by alternative fuels such as natural gas, electricity, propane, or hydrogen. Each of these fuels produce significantly lower emissions than diesel or gasoline, and are derived some domestic sources of energy. Compressed natural gas (CNG) is the most popular alternative fuel for commercial fleets, as it is widely available and significantly less expensive than gasoline or diesel – about $1.50 to $2 less per gallon.

The savings can be substantial. DeKalb County, which recently converted its sanitation fleet to use CNG, estimates it will save $3 million over an eight-year period. Atlanta-based UPS is able to keep its shipping rates low by fueling delivery trucks with CNG.

Not long ago, the idea of plugging in your car or filling the tank with natural gas seemed nothing short of science fiction. But technology has advanced rapidly. CNG stations are now located throughout Georgia, while electric vehicle charging stations are common sights in many parking garages.

Our state legislature and Rep. Parsons in particular, should be applauded for taking steps to encourage the use of alternative fuel sources. It’s a modest investment that promises to pay great dividends down the road in the form of cleaner air, greater energy independence, a stronger economy, and healthier lives.

You can also find my article on HB 348 on The Marietta Daily Journal’s website here.