Whatever Happened to CNG-Powered Cars . . . ? - EPautos - Libertarian Car Talk
interesting to speculate about why solutions that would have actually worked –
which did work – seem to
always just kind of . . . go away.
fabled 100 MPG carburetor. That probably never existed.
about cars powered by compressed natural gas (CNG)?
They did exist. And – much more interesting – they worked.
car companies – including GM and Ford– offered them, briefly,
back in the late 1990s. Including CNG-powered versions of their full-size sedans (the Impala and Crown Victoria, respectively) with
room for six and a V8 engine under the hood.
hell out of a four cylinder hybrid.
not just 0-60.
CNG-powered cars didn’t cost a fortune – which made their economics much more
sensible than most hybrids (and all electric cars).
have functional gimps, either – and thus, were practical. Most could operate on either CNG or
gasoline, so no worries about running out of CNG (as opposed to battery charge)
and being stuck.
No range anxiety. No hours-long
waits to refuel.
Even the infrastructure to
provide for CNG refueling is already largely
in place in most urban and suburban areas, because natural gas lines are
already in place. If your home has a gas furnace or gas appliances you could
also refuel a CNG-powered vehicle at home – and in minutes, not hours.
government subsidies are not required. Not for the vehicles, not for the
infrastructure/refueling facilities. As opposed to what would be absolutely
necessary in order to make electric cars as mass-production vehicles
functionally viable and leaving aside all the other considerations. Billions would have
to be mulcted from taxpayers to erect a vast network of high-voltage “fast”
chargers along the highways and secondary roads in order to keep hundreds of
thousands – potentially, millions –
of electric cars ambulatory.
even if that were done, the Wait Issue remains.
it: Millions of people stuck for at least 30-40 minutes (best case scenario) to
recharge their electric cars. The country – the economy – would literally come
to a halt.
And – the really big one –
CNG-powered vehicles run clean.
Much cleaner than today’s
already very clean-running cars – because of the clean-burning nature of CNG.
They may even run cleaner, in the aggregate,
than so-called “zero emissions” electric cars – which may not emit emissions at
their nonexistent tailpipes but the utility plants that burn oil and coal to
produce the electricity that powers them most certainly do produce lots of emissions.
fact that this is almost never brought up by the media doesn’t mean it’s not
One must also take into account
the emissions generated during the very labor (and machine) intensive process
of earth-rape necessary to manufacture electric cars and to obtain and process
the raw materials used to make them and which are not needed to make
Which are just like other cars,
no hundreds of pounds of toxic batteries on board.
vehicles not only run cleaner, they run longer without needing things like oil
changes. Service intervals can be increased by several thousand miles because
burning CNG is clean; fewer contaminants are produced, so the oil doesn’t need
to be replaced with fresh as often.
good for the Earth, too.
is also a fuel that exists in vast, almost unfathomable oceans underneath
the United States – as opposed to under the control of Middle Eastern sheiks.
And which doesn’t have to be refined from a precursor substance, such as
estimated that there is enough natural gas in the United States alone to last
for the next several hundred years, at least. Probably longer, because current
estimates do not take into account the likelihood that additional vast
oceans of natural gas will probably be found, to double or triple the currently
interesting thing to consider:
say a third of the vehicles in circulation were CNG-powered, it would reduce
the national demand for oil by an equivalent amount, with the likely effect
that gasoline would become even cheaper than it already is (about $2.20 a
gallon as of late June). That would make electric cars even more economically
absurd than they already are.
would also do exactly what the chorus singing constantly the virtues of
electric cars and hybrid cars warbles about: It would greatly reduce the
country’s “dependence” on foreign oil.
would not be sucked down the national gullet so hungrily. There would be more gasoline – and
for longer and for cheaper.
think there’d be a clamor . . .
any existing vehicle – including full-size trucks and SUVs –
can be modified to run on CNG. The existing engine (and transmission) can be
used. No re-engineering is necessary. No elaborate, expensive technology is
diminishment of capability is involved.
that is necessary is modifying the
vehicle’s fuel delivery system to accommodate the CNG and reprogramming its ECU
– the computer that controls the fuel system – for CNG operation.
No big –
or expensive – deal.
biggest thing – and it’s a small thing, really – is the CNG tanks. These are
similar in look and size to SCUBA tanks and while they do take up a lot of
space (usually, trunk-space) that can be counterbalanced by the simple
expedient of making the trunk – or the vehicle – larger.
that. Size, weight. Capacity, capability and performance. None of these
things have to be sacrificed or even compromised
perfectly adaptable to large, powerful and capable vehicles. Full-size sedans
and truck and big SUVs with big V8s.
is very interesting,
explain what happened to CNG-powered vehicles.
They worked too well. Were
opened up a way for the average person to continue driving large, powerful and
capable vehicles. Cars like the six-passenger/full-size Ford Crown Vic and
Chevy Impala (old model, rear-wheel-drive and powered by V8, unlike the
current model, which is front-wheel-drive and comes standard with a four
cylinder) and – potentially – large SUVs and trucks, also with V8s.
at a reasonable price – less than the cost of a hybrid and far less than the
cost of an electric car.
could have changed everything – and for the better.
the cartel force-feeds us hybrids and electrics that make little if any
economic sense. But which do make sense from a different perspective. Of course, that
perspective isn’t our perspective.
you adjust perspective,
it all makes sense.
becomes very interesting, indeed.
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