Natural Gas Vehicles
CNG is natural gas that's been compressed to 3,600 psi. A pipeline supplies the gas to a compressor that's located at a fueling station or business. CNG is measured and sold at the pump in gasoline gallon equivalents, or GGE (the amount of alternative fuel it takes to equal the energy content of one liquid gallon of gasoline).
Fueling fleets with compressed natural gas (CNG) has advantages. CNG vehicles:
- Use a fuel that costs less.
- Reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
- Perform like petroleum-fueled vehicles but have lower exhaust emissions.
- Run quieter than diesel-powered vehicles.
- Have been proven on the road since the 1930s.
Interested? Here are some questions to consider:
The more you travel, the more you save. Fleets that benefit most:
- Travel a high number of miles.
- Use planned routes and/or return to a central location.
There are 48 public CNG fueling options in Wisconsin. Use this link to a station locator or get the Alternative Fueling Station Locator app for iPhone.
Locally, you can fuel at the following CNG stations:
- Speedway LLC, off South Towne Drive in Monona
- Kwik Trip, south of U.S. 18/151 on County PB in Verona
- Kwik Trip, Pepsi Way in Windsor
- Middleton Farmers Cooperative Co., Pleasant View Road in Middleton
Private CNG fueling stations are an option. Fleet vehicles, like refuse haulers, may use a time-fill station. Vehicles park at the end of the day and fuel overnight. Other options include a combination of fast-fill and time-fill dispensers. Cost depends on:
For more information watch our video.
- How many trucks are fueled.
- How fast they're fueled.
- Where natural gas lines are located near your facility and their gas pressure.
The pump price for CNG is about half the cost of diesel or gasoline. The U.S. Department of Energy tracks fuel pricing. You can learn more here.
Determining a return on investment requires fleet managers to consider:
- Fuel cost.
- Vehicle cost.
- Insurance rates.
- Maintenance costs.
- Payload changes based on additional weight from fuel tanks.
For many fleets, fuel savings offset the additional vehicle cost in 1½ to 3 years.
For help calculating payback, visit the cngnow web site.
|Diesel Vehicle Replaced with CNG Vehicle
||Gasoline Vehicle Replaced with CNG Vehicle
|Annual Miles Traveled
||Annual Miles Traveled
|Cost Diesel Fuel/Gallon
||Cost Gasoline Fuel/Gallon
|Incremental Vehicle Cost for CNG
||Incremental Vehicle Cost for CNG
|Annual Fuel Cost Savings
||Annual Fuel Cost Savings
For more information watch our video about cost of CNG vehicles
Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. Natural gas vehicles generally admit 13% to 21% fewer GHG emissions than gasoline and diesel vehicles.
In addition, the fuel systems in CNG vehicles are completely sealed so they produce no evaporative emissions. Customers and the community will appreciate your commitment to cleaner air.
What vehicles are in your fleet?
Pickup trucks, passenger cars and/or vans
You can purchase or lease new CNG light-duty vehicles from General Motors, Dodge and Ford. They offer bi-fuel, heavy-duty pickup trucks. Bi-fuel vehicles have both CNG and gasoline fuel tanks. These vehicles run on CNG and automatically switch to gasoline when the CNG tank is empty. The Chevrolet Silverado 2500, for example, travels about 650 miles when both tanks are full.
Dedicated vehicles, like the Chevrolet Express Cargo van, run on CNG only. It has a 15.8 gasoline gallon equivalent tank with a driving range of about 200 miles. Additional tanks add range.
Driving a CNG vehicle feels no different than a gasoline vehicle. Performance is comparable in terms of horsepower, torque, towing capability and acceleration. Fuel economy is also comparable.
Fuel conversion systems also are available. Make sure the installer is qualified and the system is EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certified. You may have two separate warranties: one from the vehicle manufacturer and a second from the system manufacturer. Get a list of certified conversion systems here.
Maintenance intervals for CNG vehicles are comparable to gasoline-powered cars, trucks and vans. Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines. Manufacturers provide recommendations for maintaining CNG fuel tanks.
Medium and/or heavy-duty trucks
Medium and heavy-duty CNG vehicles are available from Kenworth, Freightliner, Peterbilt, Navistar-International, Mack, Volvo, Isuzu and others. Engine manufacturers build dedicated (run on natural gas only) CNG engines for a variety of commercial vehicle applications. For example, Cummins Inc. offers an 8.9-liter and an 11.9-liter engine with horsepower and torque curves that almost mirror its diesel counterpart.
Compared to diesel engines, CNG vehicles:
- Are quieter.
- Have no visible exhaust or odor.
- Meet EPA requirements without complex after-treatments.
- Are covered by one warranty from the original equipment manufacturer.
- Use a fuel that doesn't gel like diesel. They're an excellent choice for cold weather climates.
Remember, you can't travel as far on a tank of CNG as you can on a tank of diesel. The range for a 60-diesel gallon equivalent CNG tank is about 270 miles at 4.5 mpg. You can expect approximately 300 miles on a 60-gallon diesel tank at 5 mpg. Additional fuel storage can extend driving range.
For some medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with spark ignition, maintenance costs may be slightly higher. Check with the manufacturer, as not all CNG engines are spark-ignited.
Many dealerships and auto repair shops have technicians trained to work on CNG vehicles.
Businesses that repair or maintain their own natural gas vehicles on site may need to modify their maintenance facilities to meet National Fire Protection Association, National Electric Code and related code requirements for natural gas vehicles, such as NFPA 30a and 52, NFPA 70/National Electric Code (NEC) Article 511, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facilities (CVEF) Guidelines August 2012, that generally address, among other things, ventilation, gas detection, heating, lighting and electric equipment.
Because every garage is different, develop a plan and discuss modifications with the local fire authority and experienced, licensed professional engineers and architects who are familiar with the applicable code requirements. The Wisconsin State Energy Office has developed guidelines on facility modifications. Get a copy of Natural Gas for Transportation Vehicle Repair Garage Guidelines.