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Natural-Gas Vehicle Makers Propose New Unit: Diesel Gallon Equivalent

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2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD bi-fuel (natural gas & gasoline) pickup truck

2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD bi-fuel (natural gas & gasoline) pickup truck

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How do you ensure that all fuels are treated equally, and that customers are aware of the benefits and drawbacks to every alternative to gasoline power?

One of the most effective ways is to compare a new fuel to one consumers are already familiar with.

That's why a group of natural gas advocates, retailers, businesses and users is proposing a new fuel unit: the Diesel Gallon Equivalent (DGE).

In the haulage industry, diesel is currently the dominant fuel.

It's also a hard fuel to compare to natural gas, that has different benefits and different drawbacks. As people are inclined to stick with what they know, it's a hard sell turning people onto the idea of natural-gas powered vehicles.

MORE: Do Electric And Natural-Gas Cars Compete Against Each Other?

That's where the Diesel Gallon Equivalent comes in. By comparing natural gas to diesel on similar terms, customers can--in theory--make a better-informed decision as to whether natural gas meets their needs.

"This is a good, common-sense direction that is consistent and understandable," said Amy Farrell, a vice president of America’s Natural Gas Alliance.

The decision is set to be voted upon at the National Conference of Weights and Measures (NCWM) in Michigan later this month.

As far back as 1994, the natural gas industry worked with the NCWM on selling natural gas in Gasoline Gallon Equivalents--and the natural gas industry cites this as a successful precedent that has helped customers make informed decisions on natural gas versus regular gasoline vehicles.

MORE: Obama Promotes Natural-Gas Fueling Stations In State Of The Union Address

The industry also hopes a diesel standard will mean greater consistency in taxation levels--and fourteen states have already adapted the DGE for taxation purposes.

The new standard should make choosing natural gas a much easier process--and if cleaner-burning natural gas is run in more cars and heavy-duty vehicles, the environment will benefit too. 

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