Natural Gas as an Alternate Energy Source for Transportation
Petroleum, the oil that is refined to create gasoline and diesel, and that as of now is the main energy source powering transportation worldwide, releases too many pollutants into the air and is not very far away from becoming a depleted resource. As global warming becomes a larger threat, gas prices rise, and the air in cities around the world becomes increasingly polluted, it is becoming more apparent that an alternate, and cleaner, source of energy is needed for use in transportation. The best option for a replacement to petroleum is natural gas, also known as methane.
Today, twenty-four percent of the total energy consumed in the United States is natural gas, which means a change is already in progress (though due to a lack of technology in natural gas recovery and stubbornness of consumers, it is happening slowly) [Pros and Cons]. However, the important question is, “why is natural gas so much better that petroleum?”
To begin, natural gas is much better for the environment than petroleum. If natural gas vehicles (NGVs) were to become the norm, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could be alleviated by ninety percent and hydrocarbon emissions could be reduced by eighty-five percent [NaturalGas.org]. This is very important, because it is the elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that are responsible for the large increase in the greenhouse effect, which is thought to be causing global warming. In addition, natural gas produces only ninety-two pounds of nitrogen oxides (NO2) and one pound of sulfur dioxide (SO2) per billion Btu of energy, as opposed to petroleum’s 448 and 1,122 pounds, respectively [NaturalGas.org]. The significance of these figures lies in the fact that it is nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxides that cause acid rain [Pros and Cons]. However, converting to natural gas would help more than just the environment.
From an economic viewpoint, the widespread use of natural gas for transportation purposes as opposed to petroleum in the United States would not only relieve American reliance on foreign oil, but would also help the economy. This is because eighty-seven percent of natural gas consumed in the United States is “domestically” produced, which means it is produced in America [NGVC].
Therefore, using natural gas instead of petroleum as an energy source for transportation would help the environment and the American economy.