The Natural Gas Toolkit
Natural gas is one of the cleanest vehicle fueling options we have in the U.S. today, and 97% of what we use is domestically produced. Its use as a vehicle fuel reduces greenhouse gas and localized pollutant (like nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds which form ozone at ground level, and particulate matter) emissions. On top of that, it can be one of the least expensive vehicle fuels on an energy equivalent basis.
This toolkit was built with one purpose in mind: help fleets perform a first-cut cost analysis of transitioning part of their fleet to using compressed natural gas, or CNG. The toolkit was developed as an outgrowth to CNG bus conversions that the Virginia Clean Cities was developing; the project was funded by DOE.
The key pieces of the toolkit are:
- an Excel spreadsheet ("The Calculator") that shows you where and how to fill it out and calculates simple payback based on vehicle incremental cost and fuel cost savings;
- a resources page that shows where to find all the numbers you will need to complete the spreadsheet; and
- connections to Clean Cities coalitions and coordinators that can help you if you need help.
What this Toolkit does and does not do!
Does do: Allows you to find and utilize two primary numbers, the fuel price difference and your vehicle cost difference, to calculate a simple payback period. Perhaps more importantly, it helps you get basic pieces of information in one place to prepare for potential funding opportunities in the future.
Does not do: It does not include space for calculating cost differences like maintenance; changes needed to a fleet maintenance, refueling or storage facility; or the refueling infrastructure itself, which can be quite expensive.
What you need to know is that this is just a starting point for looking at natural gas for your fleet. Clean Cities coalitions, NGVAmerica, and other resources are out there to help you find the other numbers you need, so use the resources page to find those as you need them.
What do I do?
Simply go to the "calculator" page and all you need is provided there. An overview of what you will do in the spreadsheet is there, as is a list of the outside information you will need to get payback numbers for your chosen vehicles.