Rising gas prices have been slowly putting dents in our pocket books. Governments, Big Business and Entrepreneurs have been hard at work trying to find an economical alternative to petroleum based vehicles, creating a hybrid vehicle movement. According to the US Department of Energy the average price per gallon of gas will remain the same in 2014, source. I know many factors play a role in fuel prices such as demand, production, weather and unforgiving politicians. But one bright light that is sure to make the largest dent over time is consumers and businesses moving toward hybrid vehicles. Recent indicators such as Halliburton deploying NGV fleets, the US Government providing grant funding, and an explosion in media coverage by large media outlets such as Yahoo, has allowed natural gas vehicles to rise to the top of the hybrid spotlight in 2013.
The invention of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, is the process of fracturing shale rocks by drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure. This perfected form of extracting natural gas as turned it into the world’s second-largest natural gas producer. The U.S supply now meets U.S. consumption demands for the next 100 years. This has brought forth a revolution of new hybrid light trucks, 18-wheelers, government and delivery fleets, and, of course, private cars. More than 1,000 NGV fueling stations exist in the United States and the numbers are rising (find one near you). If you did purchase a NGV you wouldn’t be alone with 15.2 million hybrid NGV worldwide, and that number is rapidly growing. Navigant Consulting projects that by 2019 the number of natural gas consumer vehicles worldwide will rise to 25 million and I believe it will be much more than that, here’s why. The introduction of home fueling stations manufactured by General Electric and Eaton, filling up at home is in your very near future. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate convenience? Filling up at home without waiting in line at the gas station or dealing with the stink of the gas pump!
Potential Pitfalls and Speed Bumps
I assure you that consumers and the technology will not be the road block or speed bump to natural gas vehicles or hybrid vehicles in general. The biggest issue I foresee is the lost revenue in road taxes. Once consumers adopt alternative fuels in masses, like many fleets already have, Uncle Sam is going to notice the pinch. Most of the cost associated at the gas pump is tax, lower the amount of people buying gas by 20 percent and you then have a major problem. However if you fuel up at a natural gas filling station you’ll pay taxes, but what if you fill up at home? What if the vehicle is electric or compressed air?