CNG Boondoggle of the Day: Utah is a Gas (OK?)

Yes, it's true: a new series on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) as THE FUEL OF THE FUTURE– inspired by T. Boon Pickens' nationally advertised plan to run the whole damn country's auto fleet on CNG. Moron that later. For now, The International Herald Tribune reports that Utah's CNG scene in heating up. And why not? State government mandates have kept a lid on the price of CNG to just above extraction costs, currently running about $0.75 – $0.80/gallon. A cryo-reinforced tank fill-up in the Beehive State runs less than $10. A $3k state tax credit for purchase or new or used EPA-certified CNG vehicles has led to a run-up on prices of used Contours and Cavaliers not unlike that $7000 Geo Metro XFi. And that's on top of the $4k federal tax credit for new CNG vehicles, currently limited to the Honda Civic GX, if you can get one. (The only Utah Honda CNG dealer has a waiting list over 300 buyers.) Not surprisingly, some backyard conversions are taking place by drivers desperate to save money on the cheap, tax credit be damned. "Number of natural gas conversions explodes" was the unintentionally ironic headline in the Salt Lake Tribune. Reports of unsecured and rusty CNG tanks just might give pause to one's running red lights in Salt Lake City. Anyhow, Utah's natural gas reserves aren't much compared to other states such as Oklahoma or Texas. Texas. Doesn't Pickens live down there?

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  • SunnyvaleCA SunnyvaleCA on Sep 02, 2008

    Time to load up on more coal stocks. Strangely enough, ACI (Arch Coal) is down today so might be a buying opportunity.

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Sep 02, 2008

    CNG seems to make a lot of sense: cheap and domestic. So why isn't it more popular? In some European countries LPG cars are popular. My brother has one. It's dual fuel: LPG or gasoline. You just flip a switch when you're out of LPG and continue with gasoline. So how about a CNG version of that in the US?

  • RedStapler RedStapler on Sep 02, 2008

    IIRC Ford once offered a dual fuel F-150 pickup that ran on Gas and LPG.

  • AG AG on Sep 03, 2008

    I thought that was the CNG Ford Ranger. Anyway, I don't get why people think that oil supplies dwindling means NG supplies won't dwindle, too.