Cars, vans, trucks and buses, and other on-road vehicles using traditional fuels produce more than 60 percent of all carbon monoxide (CO) pollution. They also are the second largest national source of hydrocarbons (HCs) at 29 percent and nitrogen oxides (NOx) at 31 percent, the major ingredients of unhealthful ground-level ozone. In many urban areas, motor vehicles are the single largest source of major criteria pollutants. Motor vehicles also emit more than 50 percent of all hazardous air pollutants. Of 112 million Americans living in areas with air that is unhealthy to breathe, 100 million live in areas that fail to meet the air quality standards for ground-level ozone. Despite improvements in fuel reformulations, motor vehicles using traditional fuels continue to emit a significant proportion of urban pollutants. Regardless of improvements in emissions technology, conventionally fueled motor vehicles will continue to contribute to air pollution because the number of vehicles in use and the vehicle-miles traveled will continue to grow. Due to the favorable properties of natural gas as an engine fuel, NGVs produce lower levels of all pollutant emissions than either conventionally or reformulated gasoline and diesel fuel.
Compared with gasoline-powered vehicles, dedicated NGVs can reduce exhaust emissions of CO by approximately 70 percent, non-methane organic gas (NMOG) by 89 percent and NOx by 87 percent. Dedicated NGVs also can reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) -- the principle " greenhouse" gas -- exhaust emissions by 20 - 30 percent.
NGVs are the first vehicles certified to meet California's low-emission vehicle standards. They also are the only vehicles to officially meet California's strict ultra-low and super ultra-low emission standards. NGVs also emit virtually no particulate matter emissions, a pollutant that increasingly has come under scrutiny from health officials and air quality officials.
NGVs are here today and have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to surpass even the most demanding new emission requirements. These vehicles are not prototype vehicles rather they are production line vehicles ready for delivery now. NGVs come in a variety of makes and models, including passenger cars, pickup trucks, school and urban buses, and heavy-duty trucks. Since natural gas is available in every major urban market in the U.S., refueling networks could easily be built to supply NGVs. Already, there are 1,300 natural gas stations throughout the country. Looking to the future as transportation technologies continue to evolve, natural gas can be used as a source of energy for fuel cells, and already is being used in hybrid vehicle applications. If the U.S. is to effectively solve its complex and multifaceted transportation pollution problems, natural gas must play a critical and growing role.
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