A large-scale move from petroleum-based transportation fuel to natural gas “would likely be a mistake,” and low natural gas prices are unlikely to last an Energy Department researcher told a Senate energy panel last week.
Testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, David Greene, a fellow at the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, claimed the United State's 100-year supply of natural gas is insufficient to supply even a large fraction of the transportation sector.
Dave McCurdy, president and chief executive officer of the American Natural Gas Association, testified that only about 120,000 of the 13 million natural gas vehicles in the world are on U.S. roadways. Witnesses cited a lack of natural gas fueling infrastructure as one of the prime barriers to putting more natural gas vehicles on the road. Greene said about 1,000 natural gas refueling stations exist in the United States, but only about half of them are open to the public, compared with about 150,000 gasoline station. He added that natural gas refueling stations have been growing by about 10 percent a year since 2008, and that major businesses continue to convert commercial fleets to natural gas.
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