Natural Gas Automobiles, Vans and Trucks

Natural gas automobiles are vehicles that fit four or five passengers and have two or four doors and powered by CNG (compressed natural gas) or LNG (liquefied natural gas). Although their range is limited due to storage constraints, the mpg is still comparable with conventional gasoline powered vehicles (2012 Civic Natural Gas 27 mpg city 38 mpg highway; 2012 Civic conventional gasoline 28 mpg city 39 mpg highway). Natural gas automobiles applications include sales force automobiles, executive automobiles, and municipality vehicles.

Natural gas vans get a range of 11 to 16 mpg.[1] Because natural gas vehicles are limited in their driving range, they are commonly used to travel to everyday activities such as work and school and are also used among fleets with minimal travel. The applications include minivans, shuttles, utility vans and cargo vans. As the range of these vehicles tends to grow, natural gas vans will become more and more common among fleets.

Natural gas trucks are separated into three categories, light duty, medium duty and heavy duty. Natural gas trucks have a wide application range with anything from garbage trucks, commercial trucks, and tractor-trailers being some of them. Many companies are now switching from diesel powered trucks to CNG due to the price of diesel fuel. Aside from the high diesel prices, the growing market share for natural gas in the heavy truck sector is aided by the ease at which these vehicles can be retrofitted to operate on natural gas.

[1] Automotive Fleet, GM Debuts CNG Vans at Green Fleet Conference,, (January 7, 2021).