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posted: 8/22/2011 5:00 AM

Power fleets with natural gas

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The trend to switch vehicle fleets to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) is on the rise in Illinois as told in the article, "Suburban fleets switching to new fuel: Compressed natural gas" (Aug. 1). CNG/LNG is increasingly being used by governments and private industry to power their vehicle fleets.

Conversion to natural gas protects the environment and provides an economic benefit to the state. Illinois recognizes that the bigger and busier the vehicle, the greater the benefits of switching to natural gas. On the environmental front, converting fleet vehicles to natural gas reduces carbon dioxide emissions significantly. In fact, converting just one waste truck from diesel to natural gas is the pollution-reduction equivalent of removing as many as 325 cars from the road.

Natural gas is a cleaner transportation fuel than traditional fuels, emitting 25 percent less carbon dioxide than vehicles that run on gasoline or diesel. And it's ideal for large transportation fleets since it can to power heavier city buses and tractor trailers. The low price of CNG is an equally appealing benefit. On average, CNG costs 47 percent less than gasoline. According to Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center at the Department of Energy, natural gas vehicles are also proving to have lower operating and maintenance costs, generating significant vehicle life-cycle savings. Many fleets report 15 percent to 28 percent in savings compared with diesel fleets. Chicago Area Clean Cities said there are four CNG fueling stations in the north, northwest and west suburbs of Chicago, and more will be built. We are highly encouraged by Illinois, and their move to keep the state on the forefront of this clean energy revolution.

Dan Whitten

America's Natural Gas Alliance

Washington, D.C.