US: Obama wants to boost natural gas use image

President Barack Obama is now extending his support to the use of compressed natural gas as an automotive fuel, which is seen by many as a cleaner alternative to gasoline and one in wide supply thanks to new fracking technology.

Still, the problem remains with the automakers and energy suppliers, who up until now have been rather reluctant to add new CNG-powered vehicles to their line-up and the fueling stations needed to power them.

Although after coming into office in January 2009, the Obama Administration seemed poised to solely promote battery power, even taking funds from other promising technologies like hydrogen fuel-cells, it seems like a policy change is now in order – on his State of the Union speech, the president put a focus on CNG.

“If extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change,” Obama declared. “Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built and put folks to work, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations.”

According to the California Energy Commission, CNG produces 30% lower greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline and 23% less than diesel, but it also reduces traditional pollutants like oxides of nitrogen and particulates – and it has the leverages of being widespread available and low on operating costs.