ENVIRONMENT

Natural Gas Trucks: Better than Diesel?

Some major trucking companies are opting to fuel their fleets with natural gas instead of diesel . The good news is that burning natural gas produces lower carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions than other fossil fuels. The bad news is that the extraction of natural gas and its delivery through pipelines releases methane, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas (GHG) than CO₂.

So, Jonathan Camuzeaux of the Environmental Defense Fund, and his colleagues studied how switching from diesel to natural gas in various heavy-duty trucks could impact climate.  Their calculations indicated that, due to methane’s high potency as a GHG, the switch could have worse climate impacts over the next 50 to 90 years than sticking with diesel.  However, reduction in the loss of methane from the supply chain and improvement of the efficiency of natural gas engines could make switching fuels climate-friendly.

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