Using natural gas as a form of fuel for cars has become increasingly popular around the world. Natural gas use leads to cleaner energy for vehicles and less emissions than we would see from gasoline or diesel. There are benefits to using natural gas for any energy need where other fossil fuels are currently in play, but there’s been a huge focus on increasing the use of natural gas as an energy source for vehicles. In India alone, it’s estimated that by 2030, natural gas-powered vehicles may account for nearly 50 percent of sales.

What energy is used now?

Currently, India very much depends on coal and imported crude oil for their energy needs. While oil is used for a variety of reasons in the country, the transportation industry accounts for more than half of the demand for oil. Due to its population, India has a large number of vehicles being used for private and public transportation. Traffic is also very bad in urban areas, leading to congestion, which means more fuel being used and more emissions released into the atmosphere.

Why the change?

India is focusing on transitioning to natural gas for many vehicles versus continuing to use gasoline as an energy source for a variety of reasons. One of the big ones is the current cost for the country. New and important gas fields are changing the traditional hydrocarbons markets. Oil prices constantly fluctuate and are continually going up, which makes importing the fuel a huge cost. Thanks to natural gas (and fracking) the USA has changed from an import-oriented country to an exporter. Many countries are following its example.   As costs for importing oil goes up, it raises the cost of it for individuals, making it difficult to afford for those who need it to commute to work or travel other distances. Even when it comes to public transportation, those prices would need to be raised as well. Distributing the oil and ensuring that public transportation and trucks transporting goods have enough fuel can be challenging.

Benefits of natural gas vehicles

There are plenty of benefits for using more natural gas vehicles. One of the biggest is the positive impact it will have on the environment, especially in highly contaminated large cities in India. As other countries have transitioned to using more natural gas, they have seriously reduced CO2 emissions. Ideally, we’ll see the same benefit in India, especially if around 50 percent of vehicles transition to using natural gas. Another benefit is that India will be able to produce much of the natural gas necessary on its own; we’ve already seen a rise in natural gas production. India will be able to make vehicles and fuel more accessible. Competition should drive down prices and there are plans to extend infrastructure to more rural areas in the country.