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RNG reaches historic high in 2018 as road transportation fuel in the US

In the United States (US), Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) and the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) has announced that 32 percent of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles (NGVs) in the calendar year 2018 was renewable natural gas (RNG). Furthermore that this marks a 577 percent increase over the last five years in the use of biomethane as motor fuel.

In 2013 Clean Energy Fuels Corp., North America’s largest provider of natural gas for transportation, announced that it will be the first company to commercially distribute a renewable natural gas (RNG) vehicle fuel, called Redeem, made from waste streams such as landfills, large dairies and wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) directly to fleets around the country and at the 35 public Clean Energy Fuels filling stations throughout California (photo courtesy Clean Energy Fuels).

In 2013 Clean Energy Fuels Corp., North America’s largest provider of natural gas for transportation, announced that it will be the first company to commercially distribute a renewable natural gas (RNG) vehicle fuel, called Redeem, made from waste streams such as landfills, large dairies and wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) directly to fleets around the country and at the 35 public Clean Energy Fuels filling stations throughout California (photo courtesy Clean Energy Fuels).

Captured above ground from organic material in agricultural, wastewater, landfill or food waste, biomethane  – or renewable natural gas (RNG) – produces net carbon-neutral and even net carbon-negative results when fueling on-road vehicles like short- and long-haul trucks, transit buses, and refuse and recycling collection vehicles. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), RNG fuel in 2018 had an EER-adjusted carbon intensity as low as -303.30. By comparison, California’s electricity grid rated between 25.0 and 38.95.

Proven and affordable natural gas vehicle technology is over 90 percent cleaner than federal EPA nitrogen oxide emission standards. And when those American-made heavy-duty trucks and buses are fueled with renewable natural gas, they are up to 125 percent cleaner than the cleanest diesel technology in terms of carbon emissions. RNG-fueled vehicles are the most immediate and cost-effective heavy-duty option when seeking to combat climate change, said Dan Gage, President of NGVAmerica, a national organization of over 200 companies, environmental groups, and government organizations dedicated to the development of a growing, profitable, and sustainable market for vehicles powered by natural gas or biomethane.

Over the last five years, the use of RNG as a transportation fuel has increased 577 percent, displacing over seven million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). NGVAmerica and the RNG Coalition report that in 2018 a total of 645 million gasoline gallon equivalent of natural gas was used as a motor fuel.  Of that, more than 204 million gasoline gallon equivalent was renewable.

The environmental advantages of using renewable natural gas to replace fossil fuels in on-road transportation have driven substantial growth in development and investment in new RNG production across the United States. The number of North American RNG production facilities has multiplied more than two-and-a-half times in the past five years to almost 100 today, while RNG fuel use has increased nearly six-fold, said Johannes Escudero, CEO of the RNG Coalition.

According to the joint report, RNG motor fuel use has eliminated 7.25 million tonnes of CO2e over the last five years. Put into perspective, the organizations point out that RNG motor fuel is:

  • Lowering greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions equivalent to removing 1 539 565 gasoline passenger cars from US roads for one year;
  • Reducing CO2 emissions equivalent to 815 950 377 gallons of gasoline or 712 313 458 gallons of diesel consumed, equal to the total energy used by 868 321 American homes for one year;
  • Avoiding greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to running 1 537 wind turbines for one year or replacing 275 434 003 traditional lightbulbs with LEDs; and
  • Sequestering carbon equal to growing 119 902 624 tree seedlings for ten years or 8 534 274 acres of US forests for one year.

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