The shale gas revolution in the United States has dropped the price of natural gas significantly. Combined with new fuel and vehicle technologies, an opportunity exists to expand the use of natural gas throughout the economy, including in the light-duty fleet of cars and trucks. This expansion could involve the direct combustion of the gas in the form of compressed natural gas or liquid petroleum gas or, alternatively, the use of natural gas-based liquid fuels such as ethanol or methanol.
In a new paper, “Cheaper Fuels for the Light-Duty Fleet: Opportunities and Barriers,” RFF researchers Richard Morgenstern, Arthur Fraas, and Winston Harrington examine the potential economic, environmental, and national security gains from replacing a portion of the gasoline used in the domestic light-duty fleet with these various natural gas-based fuels. They also look at the regulatory barriers to the expanded use of the fuels.