Natural Gas: The Future of the Automobile

16.11.2011

The major car manufacturers are putting natural gas front and centre in the environmental transition of motorized transport. In fact, several manufacturers have announced a shift to natural gas.

For example, Honda Motor Co. announced in January 2011 its intention to sell vehicles powered by natural gas for the general public in all 50 U.S. states next year. At the moment, the company already sells 1500 vehicles of this type per year, principally to government agencies.

In March 2011, Ford announced a goal to have half of all of its vehicles operate with at least some natural gas by 2012.

In April 2011, Chrysler LLC put in place a plan to begin selling vehicles powered by natural gas in 2017.

And in June 2011, General Motors announced it had concluded an agreement with Westport Innovations, Inc. in order to develop new engines powered by natural gas.

The increased use of natural gas by the major car manufacturers clearly demonstrates that its use in motorized transport is not only affordable for consumers, but also offers a significant technical and environmental advantage. In addition, studies show that natural gas significantly reduces emissions of greenhouse gases produced by car transportation.

It is important to remember that among all sources of pollution in Quebec, car transportation produces the most greenhouse gasses. Indeed, according to information published on November 4, 2011 by the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks (MDDEP), the transportation sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases (43.5%), followed by industry (28%), heating buildings (14%), agriculture (7.9%) and finally garbage (5.9%).

The presence of natural gas in the Quebec car scene would allow Quebec to improve its environmental performance.