Although compressed natural gas, or CNG, has been seen by its supporters as an environmentally friendly and cost-effective alternative to gasoline, there are now rising doubts about how green natural gas really is.
The fuel option has been gaining steady support among the auto industry and even President Obama lend his support to CNG as a way to decrease America’s dependence on imported oil as well as the production of CO2.
Now, a study conducted by a group of scientists from various federal labs, as well as MIT, Stanford, Harvard and four other universities is actually saying that natural gas “is not likely to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Adam Brandt, of Stanford, the study’s lead author, says that switching from gasoline to CNG is “on the borderline in terms of (the benefits to) the climate.”
The researchers say that actually the problem is not with the actual fuel used in the car, but rather with the way it’s produced.
“If extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change,” Obama said in January, during his State of the Union address.
But natural gas, just like petroleum, sits in underground deposits, often from the same wells and for years the principal deterrent to its use was the low demand or the lack of transportation means. Now, the energy industry is on a rapid expansion of the so called fracking – a method that has numerous critics which blame it for a number of problems, from earthquakes to water pollution.