For several years now, the United States has imported more than 50 percent of the oil it uses. Future projections by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) predict that oil imports will continue to increase as domestic consumption continues to outpace U.S. production. United States is expected to import more than 72 percent of the oil it uses by 2010. And, roughly 67 percent of the oil we use goes for transportation. The U.S. DOE has recently stated that there is a one for one correlation between increased demand for transportation fuels and oil imports. Much of the increase in oil imports will come from OPEC members and Persian Gulf countries. On the other hand, the natural gas that is consumed in the U.S. comes mostly from domestic supplies. Nearly 87 percent of all natural gas consumed in the United States is domestically produced, and almost all of the remainder is produced in Canada. Using North American natural gas instead of oil or other fuels imported from overseas improves energy security and the U.S. balance of trade.
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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