CNG Prices and Stability:
Did you know that a spike in natural gas prices hardly affects the retail costs of CNG? Natural gas is traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). The natural gas futures contract represents 10,000 million British thermal units (mmBtu) at the Henry Hub in Louisiana. This hub is the nexus of 16 intra and inter state pipelines. The contract is priced in terms of dollars per mmBtu. The exchange represents the prices for the next month’s delivery of natural gas.
Gasoline, diesel and natural gas are converted into the energy equivalent for one standard gasoline gallon (GGE). This means we are creating a platform to display the energy efficiency for each fuel. We will then look at the costs of each fuel per BTU. This comparison clarifies what we are actually paying for before of state and federal taxes.
- 1 GGE = 126.67 scf
- 1 MMBTU of Gas = 7.74 GGEs
- 1 DGE = 143.94 scf
- 1 MMBTU = 6.81 DGEs
You can see that even if the natural gas prices spike from $3 to $6 on the exchange this only increases the price 39 cents per GGE at the CNG fueling station ($.78 – $.39 = $.39) This is one of the reasons the retail prices for natural gas hardly changed during the extreme storms that brought in freezing temperatures in the north during the first quarter of 2014. Click here to see where natural gas prices are trading today.
To determine the real price of fuel you need to know how much energy is in every gas gallon equivalent (GGE). This means that for the same amount of energy you purchase to fill your vehicle what are the price differences between diesel, gasoline and natural gas.
1. First lets look at the energy content in the different fuels
- Diesel has 129,500 BTUs
- Winter blends of gasoline mixed with 10% ethanol has 112,500 BTUs
- Natural gas has 114,000 BTUs
2. Next we will look at the retail cost per gallon for the different fuels
- Diesel costs $3.00 per gallon
- Gasoline costs $2.00 per gallon
- Natural gas costs $1.75 per gallon
3. Next we will compare the price vs. the energy content per 100,000 BTU
- Diesel is $3.00 per gallon x 100,000 BTU/129,500 BTU/gallon = $2.31/100,000 BTU
- Gasoline is $2.00 per gallon x 100,000 BTU/112,500 BTU/gallon = $1.78/ 100,000 BTU
- Natural gas is $1.75 per gallon x 100,000 BTU/114,000 BTU/gallon = $1.54/ 100,000 BTU
About CNG Fuel Mileage Compared to Gasoline and Diesel
Fuel Mileage and Vehicle Performance have every thing to do with the British thermal units (BTU) in the fuel, the Technology built into the CNG Conversion System, and the CNG Kit Installer.
- BTUs: The energy content of liquid fuels like gasoline and diesel is dependent on the season and oxygenated fuel additives that reduce emissions.
- A summer gallon of gasoline will typically contain 114,500 British Thermal Units (BTUs)
- A winter gallon of gasoline contains 112,500 BTUs.
Blends with 10% ethanol and reformulations with MTBE both have fewer BTUs than pure gasoline.
- Summer blends with MTBE contain 112,000
- Summer blends with 10% ethanol contain 110,210 BTUs
- Winter blends with 10% ethanol contain 112,210 BTUs
Natural gas has 114,000 BTUs.
Diesel has 129,500 BTUs.
Because fueling stations don’t have to advertise that they are blending cheaper and lower BTU 10% ethanol mix in their gasoline, most don’t; however, most stations sell the blend. Ironically, this means that in the summer, vehicles running on CNG more than likely receive 3,790 more BTUs than running the vehicle on gasoline and CNG costs 40% less.
As for dual-fuel CNG diesel conversions, the mixture of natural gas with air in the cylinders creates a denser and more explosive reaction after the diesel is injected. Diesel CNG conversion system delivers more power and saves approximately 35 % in fuel savings.
- Technology: The air fuel mixture will to a large extent determine the efficiency of your vehicle. CNG Conversion Systems that can duplicate the OEM fuel map settings will provide the best fuel mileage. Quality CNG kits will use powerful processors that read and respond to over 30 million signals per second.
- CNG Kit Installer: Tuning the CNG Conversion System properly is essential for a successful installation. Technicians must be trained and certified in CNG fuel systems installation and maintenance through accredited CNG Conversion Schools to prevent damage to your vehicle’s engine. If the fuel mixture is off, the conversion can cause severe damage to the valves or catalytic converter. When installed and calibrated correctly, the majority admit to experiencing more pep and receiving substantially better mileage.