There has been great speculation since the 1970’s, and earlier in some scientific circles, that we must find an alternative to gasoline. Amongst the list of possibilities: electricity, ethanol and even magnets have been assessed for efficiency and practical application. Now, scientists and automakers have been experimenting with CNG or compressed natural gas.
Ethanol, in its’ current state, has been termed energy inefficient as a complete replacement. However, it is being used to supplement gas supplies in some regard. Electric cars, the type that must be charged and run completely gas free, have the obvious disadvantage of limited ‘refueling’ or recharging options and locations.
Most electric car owners charge their vehicles solely at home. Charging stations have not been implemented on any widespread level and the market segment is very slim. The other issue with purely electric cars is the amount of time it takes to recharge them is less then convenient in most cases.
However, hybrids have met with much success. The battery charges itself during braking in a way similar to an alternator and conventional batteries. The added electrical power reduces gas usage and greatly increases miles per gallon. Hybrid vehicles are a step in the right direction but have not yet replaced gasoline consumption.
Compressed natural gas has a set of very distinct benefits over gasoline and other potential alternatives. First, we have an abundance (by comparison) of natural gas. In addition, although it is not 100% ‘green’, the emissions impact is significantly less than gasoline.
It is not clear yet whether Compressed Natural Gas is a completely viable replacement for gasoline, but engines are currently being tested. If testing goes well, it is widely accepted and properly manufactured CNG hybrids may be just the solution we’re looking for.