It’s interesting to speculate about why solutions that would have actually worked – which did work – seem to always just kind of . . . go away.
Not the fabled 100 MPG carburetor. That probably never existed.
But how about cars powered by compressed natural gas (CNG)?
They did exist. And – much more interesting – they worked.
Several car companies – including GM and Ford – offered them, briefly, back in the late 1990s. Including CNG-powered versions of their full-size sedans (the Impala and Crown Victoria, respectively) with room for six and a V8 engine under the hood.
Beats hell out of a four-cylinder hybrid.
And not just 0-60.
These CNG-powered cars didn’t cost a fortune – which made their economics much more sensible than most hybrids (and all electric cars).
They didn’t have functional gimps, either – and thus, were practical. Most could operate on either CNG or gasoline, so no worries about running out of CNG (as opposed to battery charge) and being stuck.
No range anxiety. No hours-long waits to refuel.
Even the infrastructure to provide for CNG refueling is already largely in place in most urban and suburban areas, because natural gas lines are already in place. If your home has a gas furnace or gas appliances you could also refuel a CNG-powered vehicle at home – and in minutes, not hours.
Massive government subsidies are not required. Not for the vehicles, not for the infrastructure/refueling facilities. As opposed to what would be absolutely necessary in order to make electric cars as mass-production vehicles functionally viable and leaving aside all the other considerations. Billions would have to be mulcted from taxpayers to erect a vast network of high-voltage “fast” chargers along the highways and secondary roads in order to keep hundreds of thousands – potentially, millions – of electric cars ambulatory.
And even if that were done, the Wait Issue remains.
Imagine it: Millions of people stuck for at least 30-40 minutes (best case scenario) to recharge their electric cars. The country – the economy – would literally come to a halt.
And – the really big one – CNG-powered vehicles run clean.
Much cleaner than today’s already very clean-running cars – because of the clean-burning nature of CNG. They may even run cleaner, in the aggregate, than so-called “zero emissions” electric cars – which may not emit emissions at their nonexistent tailpipes but the utility plants that burn oil and coal to produce the electricity that powers them most certainly do produce lots of emissions.
The fact that this is almost never brought up by the media doesn’t mean it’s not true.
One must also take into account the emissions generated during the very labor (and machine) intensive process of earth-rape necessary to manufacture electric cars and to obtain and process the raw materials used to make them and which are not needed to make CNG-powered cars.
Which are just like other cars, no hundreds of pounds of toxic batteries on board.
CNG-powered vehicles not only run cleaner, they run longer without needing things like oil changes. Service intervals can be increased by several thousand miles because burning CNG is clean; fewer contaminants are produced, so the oil doesn’t need to be replaced with fresh as often.
That’s good for the Earth, too.
CNG is also a fuel that exists in vast, almost unfathomable oceans underneath the United States – as opposed to under the control of Middle Eastern sheiks. And which doesn’t have to be refined from a precursor substance, such as petroleum.
CNG is therefore inexpensive.
It is estimated that there is enough natural gas in the United States alone to last for the next several hundred years, at least. Probably longer, because current estimates do not take into account the likelihood that additional vast oceans of natural gas will probably be found, to double or triple the currently known reserves.