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Fuel Tank To Think Tank

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  • Fuel Tank To Think Tank

    Growing up, I learned early to go with the best I had until something else better came along. It has served me well and I suggest here that it would also serve our country today.
    There are many polarized groups pushing different agendas on the alternative fuel debate, but herein I would recommend the proposition sited above; why not use the best fuel sources we have now until we develop something better? At this point hydrogen power, cold fusion and some other proposed fuel sources rank up there with Santa Claus for me. I want to believe, but before we stake all our hopes on these possibilities, shouldn’t we use the best options we have available now? In economics decision-making, this process is called satisficing. It explains the tendency to select the first option that meets a given need, or select the option that addresses most of the needs, rather than wait for the “optimal” solution.
    Below are my findings from researching several sources, including: the University of Utah Chemistry Department, the History Channel, the managements of the Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Nevada natural gas companies, my own extensive reading, and my ownership of CNG vehicles. CNG is natural gas that has been compressed (compressed natural gas or CNG) and is stored in high-pressure cylinders.
    1) CNG is SAFER THAN GASOLINE or diesel fuel according to a University of Utah chemistry professor. Natural gas and natural gas vehicles have a stellar safety record which is based upon two facts:
    a. The physical properties of natural gas make it safer than most other fuels.
    b. The fuel systems designed for natural gas vehicles are built to stringent standards.
    Physical Properties: Natural gas is flammable; otherwise it could not be used as a fuel for internal combustion and other types of energy. When released into the air or mixed with air in an engine, compressed natural gas becomes flammable only when the mixture is between 5 and 15 percent natural gas. When the mixture is less than 5 percent natural gas (too thin) it doesn't burn. When the mixture is more than 15 percent natural gas (too rich) there is not enough oxygen to allow it to burn. It also has an ignition temperature of approximately 1100 degrees F compared to gasoline and diesel fuel which both have lower concentrations of flammability and lower temperatures of ignition.
    We know that a fire or explosion needs three components: fuel, oxygen and ignition. A gasoline vehicle has two of these three components in its tank, fuel and oxygen. Whereas, a CNG vehicle has only one in its tank, fuel. Natural gas is lighter than air, so it quickly dissipates into the atmosphere when released from tanks. With a gasoline tank, the fuel stays in the immediate area as a flammable risk. Hollywood scripts have a propane tank explode at the least provocation, which makes for great movie action but is not true. A CNG tank has up to 3600lb psi. Until the pressure is reduced enough to allow oxygen access, there cannot be combustion. At the point that the pressure is low enough to allow oxygen in the tank, the amount of fuel would be negligible. That is why the likelihood of a CNG explosion is fiction, but remember, that’s what you were watching - fiction.
    Fuel System: Natural gas vehicles have all the same standard safety equipment as conventional cars (seat belts, air bags, etc.), yet they are subjected to the same crash safety tests as well.
    Because CNG fuel systems operate at pressures in excess of 3000 PSI, the fuel tank and associated plumbing have to be incredibly rugged and strong enough to contain that pressure. The on-board tanks are made of steel up to one half-inch thick and often wrapped in protective reinforced fiberglass. Plus, newer tanks are constructed of polymers and composites that are stronger than steel.
    Contrast this with standard gasoline and diesel tanks in regular vehicles that are usually made from stamped steel shell halves, just a few sixteenths of an inch thick, that are welded or crimped together. In the event of a traffic accident, the ability of rugged, durable CNG tanks to withstand rupture or puncture exceeds that of simple stamped steel.
    But the safety of natural gas vehicles doesn’t just stop with the construction of the fuel tank. Most CNG systems have automatic release valves. In a situation of excessive heat or pressure build-up, the valve will open and release the gas to the atmosphere, and since it is lighter than the surrounding air, it will rise and dissipate. In the event of a fire, the fuel is safely evacuated from the car before it ever has a chance to catch fire. Gasoline and diesel vehicles simply can’t do that.
    A manual shut-off valve also exists just down from the CNG tank to allow the user to turn the fuel off if needed. A benefit of this valve is the ability to use it as an anti-theft device. If you shut off the fuel supply when you park, any thief wouldn’t get much further than a mile down the road before the engine would shut down.
    2) We have a Distribution System Already in Place that is 1000 times more extensive than that used for petroleum products. Mega tanker ships transport oil from the Middle East. Tanker trucks transport 99% of the gasoline and diesel fuel that we consume at the pump. That itself contributes 22%+ to the price we pay at the pump, not to mention the danger. Has anyone forgotten the Valdez? If a CNG ship had split open the gas would have simply dissipated into the atmosphere rather than pollute the oceans of our planet. Every day tanker trucks travel our roads delivering various types of petroleum products. More than half of that traffic could be eliminated with the use of CNG, reducing the pollution and the risk of those trucks being involved in accidents. There are no transportation costs of CNG other than the pipe that is laid to convey it. Natural gas is distributed nationwide through an extensive network of pipelines, which feed electrical generation plants and domestic and industrial heating uses. Thus, the use of natural gas in vehicles is "piggybacking" on many years of infrastructure development. Therefore, CNG poses no direct threat to land or water contamination in case of a leak.
    If natural gas is available where you live, you can install a natural gas pump to your home or business allowing you to refuel your vehicle in your garage. Many people already do. No delivery needed; natural gas is also being delivered to our homes by underground pipelines. There is also a $1,000 federal tax credit available to offset the cost of installation. (Google - "Fuel Maker")
    3) CNG is a LOW COST FUEL or should be. In Utah, as of 10/31/07, CNG is $.64 a gallon statewide; yes, that's 64 cents! In many other states CNG is as high as $2.75 a gallon. (thanks to T. Boone Pickens). Utah, Oklahoma and a couple of other states regulate their natural gas. If Utah were not regulated, we also would be paying about $.40 less than gasoline, which has been where the petroleum companies have pegged CNG’s price. In the past 20 years a few petroleum companies have gone around the country and bought up most of the natural gas suppliers and distributors, in effect, destroying any competition.
    The FTC should do something about the monopoly, but won’t until “we the people” get educated.
    The federal government currently allows a $.50 per gallon tax credit to all entities dispensing CNG for vehicles. From the pricing differences, it’s easy to recognize which companies are grabbing that money for themselves and which suppliers are gouging the consumer.
    Production, transportation, taxes and profit make up the elements of petroleum’s price to the consumer. Unlike petroleum, CNG requires little or no development, production, refinement or transportation. In fact, natural gas is often discovered with petroleum and burned off as a nuisance.
    Now, consider your ECON 101 class you took. Remember supply and demand effects. If we have a product with an over abundance (high), with a demand that at this point is almost nil (low), what would you expect the price to be? Low. So if it is not, some thing or some one is manipulating it.
    4) REDUCE OUR DEPENDENCE on FOREIGN OIL NOW. Many politicians talk about reducing dependence but what are they doing about it TODAY? It’s a no-brainer! CNG is a domestic fuel. Over 65% of the gasoline used in the USA comes from foreign sources. Over 40% of that is from OPEC. More than 85 percent of the natural gas used in the United States comes from domestic or other North American sources.
    Could we switch today – no. Could we start doing something about it today – YES! All diesel machines could be adapted to a dual fuel system. The engine will run easily on a mixture of 20% diesel and 80% CNG.
    Many economists feel that American petroleum companies are buying the foreign oil now at comparatively low prices so in the future when foreign oil is exhausted they can step in with American oil at exorbitant prices.
    Last edited by Curtis; 01-09-2008, 11:13 AM. Reason: Error corrections

  • #2
    Fuel Tank to Think Tank pt2

    5) LOWER MAINTENANCE Not only is CNG cheaper but also when used in vehicles, the engines last 2 to 3 times longer and oil only needs to be changed every 10,000 miles, unlike gasoline engines that require oil be changed every 3,000 miles. Mechanics with Questar say that vehicles that use CNG still look new, at 200,000 miles. Vehicles with 300,000 miles that run CNG are not unusual.
    Dedicated CNG vehicles are designed to run only on natural gas, there are also bi-fuel vehicles—they make the best of both worlds and have two separate fueling systems.
    6) CNG is a RENEWABLE RESOURCE Natural gas is made up of 3 gases; one of which is methane. Natural Gas is referred to as a fossil fuel because it's usually present at locations of oil drilling or coal mining but it is composed of about 92% methane that is created from the anaerobic decomposition of organic material and also occurs naturally deep in the earth and throughout the solar system (see *1 ). CNG is also130 octane, if there is a question about performance. Racing fuels are about 110 octane. The octane in regular gasoline that most vehicles run on is 85 to 87. Ethanol, on the other hand, has very poor performance and requires MORE energy to produce it than it gives out. If that isn’t bad enough, do you want to guess what fuel they use to heat the corn to produce ethanol? Yep, natural gas. Add that to the fact that by using our corn reserves to produce fuel we lose our bargaining chip with other countries to help feed their starving populations. “ Farm lobby?”
    The Salt Lake County landfill on 6400 West powers its buildings, heating, cooling and electricity from the methane that is piped off the landfill. Thus while petroleum is being produced at a snails pace at optimal conditions of pressure and temperature within the earth, methane is produced comparatively quickly and easily. If there is a doubt about that, think about it after you go out for Mexican food next time.
    7) NATURAL GAS IS PLENTIFUL The planet’s current reservoirs of known natural gas are enough to supply the earth’s energy needs for the next 150 years. Canada itself has enough to supply the planets energy needs for the next 50 years. The North Atlantic Ocean, Israel and Russia have vast supplies of untapped natural gas. Plus it is renewable (see 6, 9 &10) making it a secure energy source.
    8) CLEAN AIR: Next to electric, CNG is the next least polluting fuel, only if you’re talking about what comes out of the tailpipe. The use of CNG vehicles results in less petroleum consumption, and less air pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas is not made from petroleum, as gasoline and diesel are. It produces no hydrocarbons, thus no carbon monoxide. It has a simple, one carbon, molecular structure (CH4) that makes possible its nearly complete combustion. It produces only carbon dioxide. In general, carbon dioxide is exhaled by animals and utilized by plants during photosynthesis. Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas because it absorbs in the infrared range, and because of its atmospheric lifetime. Due to this, and the role it plays in the respiration of plants, it is a major component of the carbon cycle.
    When you take into consideration the disposal of batteries on an electric car, you are now talking about a pollutant that rivals nuclear waste, according to a physicist and chemist at Los Alamos national labs. 49.2% of our nation’s electrical power comes from coal (the highest manmade particulate contaminate), 20.4% from natural gas, 19.4% from nuclear, 7% from hydro-energy, 1.6% from petroleum and 2.4% from renewable wind, solar, and geothermal. With that, the energy that is recharging the “clean” electric car, over 70% of the time is not so clean.
    Until technology comes up with a battery that does not need to be disposed of and can store more energy, electric vehicles are counter productive to environmental concerns.
    The CNG Honda Civic GX has been the cleanest internal-combustion-engine vehicle ever tested by the EPA in every year since 1998.
    9) Use it Before it Becomes a Threat? According to the History Channel, one of the Mega Disasters that hangs over our planet is global warming’s effect on methane deposits on the sea floor close to the artic polar ice cap and its effect on permafrost. Those pockets could bubble to the surface and provide a flammable methane-rich atmosphere in the future. Scientists have proposed drilling into that deposit to tap into the fuels there, but they are meeting opposition from environmentalists. The History Channel sights known methane deposits on planet earth to be about 20,000 million tons. That’s two to three times that of the known reserves of petroleum and more being produced every minute by nature. Why not reduce the threat? USE IT!
    10) A SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP is one where both parties benefit. As stated above, natural gas contains a minimum of 90% methane. Every animal on earth produces methane. We currently collect the material that could be used to produce methane. It’s called sewage, fecal matter, and waste products. Over 60% of American homes are connected to a sewage collection system. Over 50% of American homes are connected to a natural gas supply system for heating. A symbiotic system would be to use our sewage collection plants in our larger metropolitan areas to produce natural gas. That methane could then be piped to our already existing natural gas providers. In Utah that is Questar. They in turn could pipe it to our homes and businesses for heating and power. The homes in turn return sewage to the production plants.
    11) According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah is on the cutting edge of CNG implementation. (July 16,2007) However, Utah screwed up! Ten years ago Utah led the nation by providing bi-fuel vehicles for state employees who were supplied cars. It failed. Why? If you were given a credit card to pay for all of your fuel and had the choice of getting your gasoline on almost every street corner or have to look around for station that has CNG, which would you choose? The State should have supplied dedicated CNG vehicles to all employees for city driving, and then made bi-fuel or traditional gasoline vehicles to check out for travel to areas where CNG is not available.
    This addresses one of the hurdles to CNG acceptance. That is, the consumer’s demand for access to fuel. Not because we need it, necessarily, but because we are used to it. Those of us born after 1930 have grown up spoiled and brainwashed by having a filling station on almost every corner. In town we don’t give a thought to where our next fill-up will come from, only its price. The only time we consider access is when we drive our gasoline vehicles to remote locations off the main road. We typically don’t consider how much fuel we have or might need? For a savings of $1.00 to $2.50 a gallon, I for one, am willing to plan ahead and consider CNG fuel locations before I travel. The average family that drives 2,000 miles a month will save about $2,000 a year. With that kind of savings, a family could afford to fly or rent a car and not put the miles on their own vehicle.
    12) DRIVE ALONE IN THE CARPOOL LANE. A CNG vehicle also qualifies for a Utah Clean Air License Plate that lets you drive solo in the carpool lane and ignore fees at the parking meters in downtown Salt Lake City. Save hours each week.
    I don’t pretend to have all the answers concerning the use of alternative fuels but there is something wrong with the current fuel situation and what we are being told about it. After driving a CNG vehicle for a year, reading everything I can get my hands on about alternative fuels and speaking to the Chemistry department at the U of U, I can say that it is logical that every family’s second car should be CNG and that every state should encourage CNG use over petroleum.


    • #3
      Fuel Tank to Think Tank pt3

      13) UTAH STATE TAX CREDIT Utah and the federal government are encouraging the use of Alternate Fuel Vehicles through various tax incentives. The Federal tax credit on new dedicated vehicles runs between $4,000 and $32,000 depending on GVW. Cars and trucks under 8500 GVW get $4,000 and it goes up from there. Most pickups 8600 GVW or higher get $8,000. The first person to register a used CNG vehicle in Utah is eligible for a state tax credit that can be as high as $3000. The amount of the credit is based on how much the CNG option costs on the vehicle and it varies by year, make and model. (Talk to Utah Division of Air Quality for details)
      What are the benefits of using natural gas in transportation?
      Natural gas is produced both worldwide and domestically at a relatively low cost. It is cleaner burning than gasoline or diesel fuel. Natural gas vehicles show an average reduction in ozone-forming emissions of 80 to 95% compared to gasoline or diesel vehicles.
      We need it NOW! We have a choice; it just isn’t being offered.
      1 The country needs time to put in pump stations as the demand increases. States other than Utah, are way behind the curve.
      2) Other states are a much larger problem. i.e. All of Idaho’s CNG stations are private or government only.
      3) The space necessary for the storage of a CNG tank in a vehicle makes it impractical for very small vehicles. That’s why trains, buses, and local freight semis would be an easy conversion
      4) Perception: Most people know nothing about CNG yet will express an uninformed opinion.
      5) Perception: See #1 People believe that CNG is more dangerous. See #2 People think they need more access to fuel then they really need.
      6) CNG requires major retooling of both cars and fuel-station infrastructure.
      7) If your car spends more than 80% of its time in a metropolitan area with CNG pumps available, no problem. If the vehicle is to be used out of state then you need to do further study on the availability in the areas that you intend to travel. For the 10% that it is used outside the city, you would need to figure the vehicles range and alow enought fuel to return to a CNG station. There are bi-fuel vehicles that can operate on both CNG and gasoline,

      Recommendations and solutions:
      a - The federal government and states mandate that all public transportation, i.e. buses, trains, taxis, local delivery vehicles and government fleets, be run on an alternative fuel by 2010.
      b – All commercial diesels to augment CNG to 40% by 2011
      c - All natural gas companies should be regulated by a public service commission by 2010.
      d – Re-instate the 1992 Clean Air Act WITH teeth. Penalties for non-compliance by 2009.
      e – Mandate that all US auto Manufacturers offer a dedicated CNG vehicle by 2011
      f – All CNG stations to be public accessible by 2009. The problem is not Utah, it’s most other states that don’t have public accessible CNG stations and the federal government’s lack of leadership.
      g - The EPA needs to loosen up! It has made it so expensive to test and get approved. It costs US auto manufacturers $300-$400 thousand to get one system approved. They need to ask “why not” rather than “why” approve a system. They can always change their minds. What a concept!
      h – Call and support the Utah Division of Air Quality and our state officials, they are the ones that are putting UTAH on the cutting edge and making a difference.
      i - The petroleum industry has a vested interest in thwarting any efforts to make CNG available and competitive. Hold them accountable. End the monopoly.
      j - Put all US petroleum companies under the immediate control of a state public service commissions.
      k - The EPA is a bureaucratic mess. In short, they have made it too expensive to get the EPA approval that currently sets qualifications for the federal tax credit. Rein them back.
      l - Allow the immediate production of any CNG vehicle that was being produced from 2000 to 2005.
      m - Term Limits on all Federal and State elected officials - NOW. Our founding fathers never intended on politics being a profession.
      n – Federal and State Lobbyist contribution and entertainment Limits – NOW. It’s human nature to feel that if you give something to a person, they owe you despite what corporate American says. If it’s not true then what is our foreign policy of aid, embargo and favored status all about?
      CNG is the best-kept secret.
      For more information about natural gas and CNG, visit:,5143,695204002,00.html,5143,695204005,00.html
      *1 Rockets

      When was the last time that you heard of the government doing something reasonable, rational and logical?
      Follow the Money!


      • #4
        Re: Fuel Tank To Think Tank

        Welcome to CNGchat CNGSB!
        Lots of good info above. I have merged your threads into one so others can easily comment.


        • #5
          Re: Fuel Tank To Think Tank

          Again, welcome to the group! And congratulations on the longest post in the sites history. Here is a letter to the president that was created by the NGVA, and everyone can print out and mail right to the man himself. Kinda the readers Digest version of your info.
          Attached Files


          • #6
            Re: Fuel Tank To Think Tank

            I've copied your posting and will start sharing with folks I know who inquire about the GX and it's virtues...Good stuff!


            • #7
              Re: Fuel Tank To Think Tank

              You'll find some interesting statistics in the two documents listed below. The statistics in here will really piss you off. Also look into the legal battle that has been taking place in Ca. over the states right to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. There's an article on it that you'll find very interesting. All states adopt this law and cng becomes the only immediate solution available.
              Attached Files


              • #8
                Re: Fuel Tank To Think Tank

                I liked your article except for ideas about battery electric vehicles (EVs). Batteries are not as bad as you are saying since you recycle them after use (99% recyclable), if you didn't recycle them they wouldn't be good, but they are easily recycled. I hope you are recycling your consumer electronic batteries too, you shouldn't dispose of them in the trash. "And by the way, if you want a fair comparison to gas cars, you really need to include the pollution from the oil refineries, tanker ships, and tanker trucks." (,
                Also, you say that EVs are not necessarily as clean for the environment due to the source of their energy. But, if you used natural gas for the power plants or some renewable clean energy source then you would get almost zero emissions at the power plant and the since EVs are so efficient compared to gas powered cars (gas power has an efficiency of around 10-15%, while EVs are much more efficient, I can't find the efficiency number on an EV but I believe they are much higher let me know if you find them) and since ev's have so few moving parts and so little maintanance (they hardly even use their brakes, you can go up to 100,000 miles before changing them depending on your driving habits) that they would be much cleaner than cng. Also since they have so few moving parts you don't have to change so many parts all the time like you do with ICE engines.
                Although I can only use CNG & Gasoline powered cars right now, once I can get a range of at least 120 miles I will switch over to an EV (I can get 120 miles now but the batteries are way too expensive, I'll have to wait until I can about afford them).


                • #9
                  Re: Fuel Tank To Think Tank

                  Cngsb, great post, very informational...