The energy landscape of the United States for the past century has been dominated by the use of fossil fuels namely coal, petroleum, and natural gas (NG). While coal usage was dominant during the early 1900’s, petroleum has been dominant ever since the second half of the 20th century owing to increasing use of liquid fuels, gasoline and diesel, for transportation. In contrast, NG consumption in the U.S., currently at ~25% of total primary energy use, has only been steadily increasing since the early 1990’s (BP, 2012). However, the last decade has seen rapid growth in U.S. NG consumption as a result of falling prices stemming from the surge in domestic gas reserves. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), currently the total recoverable U.S. natural gas reserves are estimated at 2214 trillion standard cubic feet (tcf). For an annual NG consumption of 24.1 tcf (in 2010), U.S. NG reserves are estimated to last close to 92 years. Not surprisingly, there has been a growing interest in expanding NG use in the U.S. energy supply. Here, we analyze the potential for using NG to meet the energy requirements of U.S. light duty vehicle (LDV) fleet and the associated energy policy implications. Compared to coal and petroleum, natural gas by virtue of its higher hydrogen to carbon ratio, could contribute to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions with little sequestration efforts (Burnham et al., 2011).
Mallapragada, Dharik and Agrawal, Rakesh
"Role of Natural Gas in America's Energy Future: Focus on Transportation,"
Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI) Policy Briefs: Vol. 1
, Article 2.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/gpripb/vol1/iss1/2