'Add Natural Gas' Ad Campaign To Promote New Type Of Cars

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Natural-gas vehicle prototypes, Los Angeles, May 2013 - gasoline & natural-gas fillers in gas door

Natural-gas vehicle prototypes, Los Angeles, May 2013 - gasoline & natural-gas fillers in gas door

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On Tuesday, six prototype cars powered by natural gas for their first 60 or so miles and by gasoline thereafter were unveiled in Washington, D.C.

Now, the natural-gas industry is taking them on the road to "drive a conversation about the benefits of natural gas as a transportation fuel for consumers"--complete with ad campaign.

The advertising effort, under the tagline "Add Natural Gas," focuses on the vehicles and the idea that consumers can drive a majority of their regular daily mileage using compressed natural gas.

The cars' original gasoline system remains in place and acts as a range extender, but in four of the six cars—a BMW X3, a Ford Mustang GT, GMC Acadia, and a Hyundai Sonata—there's no compromise to load capacity or trunk space (unlike more traditional conversions).

“Natural gas is a clean, abundant, and domestic fuel," said Kathryn Clay, Executive Director of the Drive Natural Gas Initiative.

And the new concept can allow owners and drivers to cut their fuel costs, she said, "without sacrificing style or performance."

 “We believe consumers deserve more choices in the vehicles they drive," Clay said, "and the fuel they use" to power them.

The ad campaign will also bring in the idea of a home refueling appliance for natural-gas vehicles, which would be mounted in the garage and compress the low-pressure gas from a home's supply pipeline to fill the car's high-pressure storage tank.

Whirlpool and other well-known consumer appliance makers have expressed interest in developing concepts for such an appliance, and will work with the effort.

Natural-gas vehicle prototypes, Los Angeles, May 2013 - group shot at Playa del Rey storage field

Natural-gas vehicle prototypes, Los Angeles, May 2013 - group shot at Playa del Rey storage field

Enlarge Photo

Such a home-refueling appliance would let consumers avoid having to find public natural-gas fueling stations, of which only about 500 now exist nationwide.

The coalition of the Americas Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) and the American Gas Association (AGA) that funded construction of the prototype cars will now take them to various events around the country where they feel they can raise awareness about natural gas as a vehicle fuel.

Readers can get more information on the cars, including multimedia downloads and vehicle specifications, at www.addnaturalgas.com.


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Comments (16)
  1. This will just end up like E85, they'll make the car capable of using two fuels put flex fuel badges on all their cars and then no one will use the NG because they either can't find it, or can't be bothered filling up with two fuels. Natural gas does not fix any of the problems that we have with gasoline it's the same dead end.

  2. @CDspeed: I'd suggest that there are significant differences between these cars & 'Flex Fuel' cars that can use E85.

    First, these cars will be notably more expensive, whereas 'Flex Fuel' vehicles were not. Second, the only people likely to buy them are those who have the ability to fill them with natural gas (most likely at home, possibly a nearby public fueling station). And third, natural gas is significantly cheaper per mile whereas E85 is not.

    Added up, those factors seem to me to make this a different (and more restricted) economic case for a much more specialized set of buyers than E85 vehicles. Those were widespread due to the CAFE credits they earned their makers.

  3. I made the comparison based on my area, there are no stations for E85 or CNG that I've ever seen. And if "the only people likely to buy them are those who have the ability to fill them up with natural gas" then why bother? Every few months I notice more and more electric cars on the road so I doubt CNG will ever take off in passenger cars no matter what they do.

  4. Why bother you say? Think about it, natural gas is clean burning and way cheaper than gasoline. I think it is selling for almost 2 dollars a gallon in my area. If the CNG fuel tank can get me to work and back at least it will be like running a Electric car. Cheap to run but only good for going to work and then straight home.
    I just can not see CNG systems like this being even 1/10th as expensive as the EV's Lithium Ion batteries. That is the main problem with EV's right now, they are dang expensive because Lithium is about as hard to find as Titanium.

  5. Er, no.

    First, lithium is actually quite abundant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium#Terrestrial

    Next, NG may be cheaper than gasoline -- electricity beats both.

    EVs cost so little to fuel and maintain, most end up being extremely affordable. E.g. check out the 5-year TCO of a 2013 Leaf and try and find something cheaper; I couldn't.

    Emissions now: for passenger cars, switching from gasoline to NG offers little benefit. http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/smart-transportation-solutions/cleaner_fuels/

    => Even on the dirtiest parts of the US grid, EVs remain much cleaner than any of the vehicles currently proposed by America's Natural Gas Alliance.

  6. I would respectfully disagree with that. Poland, by many considered a "third world country" uses LPG and gasoline cars for many years now. Every time I go there, I continue to see these cars on the road. Here is how is works on a high level: For ignition, the car uses gasoline and then it switches to LPG. In addition, LPG costs about 50-75% cheaper than regular gasoline or diesel.

    I live in the US for 20 years now and I don't understand why we can't do the same... have the ability to convert our cars and install tanks on our gas stations to be able to fuel up. We have to begin somewhere to get us off OPEC. We are focusing too much on tech for the 22 century...

  7. Okay, so can we call this a hybrid car as there are two sources of fuel?

  8. They are referred to as "dual fuel".

  9. Any competition to the oil monopoly in transportation should be welcomed. But how safe is compressed natural gas?

  10. I may be interested if and when they have a home fueling appliance available for $20/month that includes permits, installation, and maintenance. Basically, I don't want to own it because of the history of the Phill appliance. I'm not saying they can't do better, I just don't want to take that risk. I'm also not willing to depend on public infrastructure when I have natural gas already in my garage.

  11. At the risk of inviting a polarizing debate, I would like to voice concern over natural gas being touted as a "green" alternative to traditional fuels. Depending how gas is obtained, there could be grave consequences to increasing demand for natural gas and relying on it in the coming years.

    Personally, I would never own a natural gas hybrid electric vehicle, believing gasoline-electric to have superior performance as a "bridge" technology toward the realization of hydrogen or better battery chemistry and management.

  12. I agree with you Joe, I think if we become dependent on NG we will end up in the same place we're in now with gasoline. Rising fuel prices due to increased demand and the drilling won't end until its all gone. Not to mention the dangers of cracking the Earth's crust just to get NG.

  13. Can't you same the same for electric.... or any other fuel source-type? (With the exception of solar/wind power-grid infrastructure)

  14. Generally, I agree that CNG vehicles are not the best "green" solution. However, they have significantly lower local emissions and the potential for significantly lower operating cost. In some areas and some applications, these are worthwhile benefits. A heavy duty diesel truck running on CNG is a big improvement - a Civic, Mustang, or even Chrysler 300 like in the related story, not so much. Those would be better as PHEV. Anyway, I feel it has a place as one of the "All of the Above" solutions.

  15. Natural gas or fracking will one day be agreed upon as one of the biggest mistakes we have ever allowed. Monumental.

  16. Why is this on Green Car Report??? Natural Gas is just as bad if not worse for the planet then gasoline. The amount of a methane (a much worse greenhouse gas then CO2) given off in the extraction process, not to mention the wide reaching contamination of ground water, make NG anything but green. The only ones pushing natural gas is the companies looking to line there pockets with green.

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