Press Release

Natural gas in road transport: still a dead-end

May 19, 2016

Despite what the gas industry claims, there is a growing body of evidence that natural gas does not offer climate and air quality benefits.

The NGVA claims that natural and biogas are the only viable routes to clean up road vehicles, especially trucks. Even if we would ignore the issue of methane leakage – and that is not a good idea – the potential for natural gas remains limited.

In fact, the University of Cologne study that NGVA quotes to substantiate its cost-effectiveness claims states that:

“The very marginal share of natural gas vehicles in current passenger cars fleet (ca. 0,1%) makes them only relevant as an option to save CO2 in the passenger car sector at an unrealistic degree of (market) diffusion. The share of NGVs would have to reach 23% in order to achieve 10% emissions reductions from the transport sector’s current GHG footprint.”

The study shows that neither gas, or a combination of gas and biogas, would allow us to reduce transport GHG emissions by 60% by 2050 compared to 1990, let alone deliver the deeper cuts that are required by the Paris agreement. This means there is a risk of technological lock-in as well as diversion of investments that slows down the uptake of the solutions that can decarbonise the transport sector.

Carlos Calvo Ambel, transport and energy analyst at T&E, said: “Natural gas is not a long-term solution for transport, as shown by the growing body of evidence that it does not offer the climate and air quality benefits that the gas industry claims. 

“It’s time to rethink the dash for gas, so that we do not repeat the past mistakes of betting on diesel and biofuels which have proved costly and harmful. The safer road to go down is one with hybrid-petrol cars and electric vehicles powered by clean energy.”

For more information: 

Read T&E’s full rebuttal: Gas in road transport: (still) a dead-end

T&E’s study: Natural gas in vehicles – on the road to nowhere

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