Natural gas vehicles are a clean alternative to gasoline and diesel vehicles. A natural gas vehicle uses compressed natural gas or liquefied natural gas fuel instead of petroleum and diesel fuel, providing significant reductions in greenhouse gas and air pollution, when utilizing clean renewable fuels.

Through the Clean Transportation Program (formerly known as the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program), the Energy Commission supports projects that demonstrate in-state production of renewable natural gas or biomethane, which can be substituted for conventional natural gas in natural gas vehicles. When powered by biomethane, low-NOx engines can reduce criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions.

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The Clean Transportation Program has provided vehicle incentives to increase consumer adoption of with natural gas vehicles. The University of California at Irvine administered the Clean Transportation Program -funded Natural Gas Vehicle Incentive Project (NGVIP), which provided incentives to reduce the purchase price of new on-road natural gas vehicles. The program has also supported the construction of refueling stations for natural gas vehicles across California, particularly for school districts and local governments, which may not have access to the necessary capital for such long-term investments.

Benefits of Natural Gas

  • Abundant natural gas reserves in the United States reduce dependence on petroleum and support the nation’s energy security
  • Creates jobs and supports of the deployment of cleaner vehicles in diverse communities
  • Natural gas engines and emission control technologies are commercially available
  • Vehicle performance is similar to vehicles powered by diesel and gasoline, in terms of power, acceleration, and cruising speed