Natural gas vehicles, or NGVs as they are sometimes referred, are becoming increasingly popular as people look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Gasoline and diesel fuel, which are both used to power most cars, is extremely detrimental to the environment. The fuel system on a natural gas vehicle is designed to efficiently burn natural gases, which can reduce carbon emissions and lessen the vehicle’s impact on the environment.
While advertisements claim that natural gas vehicles are environmentally safe, the biggest question people are asking is “how are these cars any better for the environment?” Most people may not realize that these vehicles are not dependent on foreign oil like most other cars. These NGV rely solely on natural gases such as those extracted from the Utica Shale. It has been predicted that this resource, found in the shale formations and known as Shale gas, will be a solution to the country’s dependence on oil. The natural gases produce fewer emissions than standard gasoline fuel, so we can reduce our impact on air pollution, and keep the world a greener place.
Same Safety Test Standards
All vehicles that are manufactured and sold within the United States are required to meet strict safety test standards. Even though the car may run on natural gas, it is still held to the same safety standards as a conventional car.
Each vehicle is run through a series of tests. Some of the items or features that are tested include:
- Cars ability to withstand crashes (side-impact, rollovers, etc.)
- Head restraints
- Anti-lock brakes
- Passenger impact during crashes
Durable Gas Tanks
A common fear with natural gas vehicles is the possibility of the gas tank exploding should an accident occur. After all, natural gas is extremely flammable, and just one spark could send the car up in flames. However, people do not have to worry about the gas tank exploding during an accident.
The gas tank in a natural gas vehicle is extremely durable. In fact, it is more durable than standard compact cars. The gas tanks in a natural gas vehicle are composed of polymers and composites, which are stronger than the steel and fiberglass of a compact car. These materials can withstand extreme pressure, and it can be difficult to puncture the tank. If an accident should occur, it would be unlikely that the tank holding natural gas would break, crack, or start to leak. So it’s actually safer for you, and safer for mother earth.
Automatic Release Valve
Natural gas vehicles are equipped with an automatic release valve on the gas tanks. The automatic release valve is designed to measure heat and pressure in and around the gas tank. If the automatic release valve senses excessive heat or pressure, it will automatically release a valve that allows the natural gas to quickly evaporate into the air. The quick evaporation can prevent cars from exploding in the case of an accident.
Natural gas vehicles may be the new kids on the block, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t safe. The strict safety test standards and the numerous safety features make natural gas vehicles just as safe, if not safer than conventional cars.