RNG: Drive Clean in 2021 or Drive Clean (Maybe) Later?

March 2, 2021

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Last week in a television interview, former U.S. Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry, and President Biden’s U.S. special envoy for climate, definitively told CBS News’ Ben Tracy that we have nine years left to avert the worst consequences of the climate crisis. Nine years.

Some who agree wholeheartedly with his timeline advocate for nothing less than the immediate wholesale electrification of every aspect of the transportation sector in order to reduce its global emission impact. The problem? Battery-electric heavy-duty trucks have not reached high enough volumes for mass commercial use.

Investing in trucks fueled by RNG is an immediate and cost-effective positive change climate policymakers can make now.

There is a buzz around electric trucks, and Wall Street has responded to it. But most currently available options are light- and medium-duty, which make them preferably suited for short routes or last-mile delivery.

Trucks Fueled by RNG Provide Immediate Emission Reductions

Before electric trucks get more scalable, there is a low-carbon option for heavy-duty applications that is already in wide-scale use. Investing in trucks fueled by renewable natural gas (RNG) is the most immediate and cost-effective climate positive change policymakers can affect.

RNG, or biogas, is produced from methane emitted through the decomposition of animal manure, food waste, forest management waste, wastewater sludge, and garbage. RNG projects capture this methane and redirect it away from the environment, repurposing it as a clean, green energy source of energy to fuel America.

RNG projects capture methane and redirect it away from the environment as a clean, green fuel.

Using RNG as a transportation fuel not only reduces the environmental impact of organic waste, it displaces traditional fossil motor fuels, and restores America’s local economies by supplying new revenue streams for family farms, employing laborers for facility construction and operation, and creating a whole new green energy workforce.

RNG can also be zero-emission equivalent when it comes to smog-forming tailpipe pollutants like nitrogen oxides (NOx). All new natural gas trucks, regardless of fuel source, virtually eliminate NOx emissions as a result of the fact that they achieve emission reductions that are greater than 90% better than federal or California standards, and they don’t produce any diesel particulates.

Data Confirms RNG is Carbon Negative

Data from the California Air Resources Board (CARB, Q3 LCFS Data) confirms that the energy weighted carbon intensity (CI) value of California’s bio-CNG consumed as a result of its Low Carbon Fuel Standard program is now below zero at -17.95 gCO2e/MJ.

RNG is among the lowest carbon intensity on-road vehicle fuels in use today.

Simply put, most of the RNG fuel used in California in 2021 is now carbon negative. In fact, RNG is among the lowest carbon intensity on-road vehicle fuels in use today.

So while we wait for battery-electric and hydrogen options to further develop and become more commercially available, RNG-fueled trucks and buses can help fleets cut emissions and reduce fuel costs. Why postpone replacing aging trucks and buses polluting the air in frontline communities and urban neighborhoods of color when clean alternatives exist?

Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) offer a 1:1 replacement for diesel technology with similar power, torque, and range capabilities regardless of terrain or weather, and NGVs require no costly or cumbersome emission control equipment to achieve a zero-emission equivalent tailpipe result.

Get clean air and reduced emissions today with RNG-fueled trucks and buses.

No buildout of charge connections or transmission capacity is needed to get started. Nationwide NGV refueling infrastructure is in place and growing, and NGV fuel pricing is consistent and competitive with no hidden charges or added fees. RNG is a renewable, plentiful, and domestic motor fuel option with no geopolitical influences or human rights concerns related to component supply chain.

NGVAmerica’s Newest Fact Sheet on RNG

You can find out more about RNG’s carbon-free transportation achievement in NGVAmerica’s newest fact sheet, Fuel a Greener Future, available at our online Resource Center.

Secretary Kerry is correct. We need to move fast; we need to move now. And since climate change is cumulative, the longer we wait, the harder it gets to solve.

Get clean air and reduced emissions today by replacing aging fleets with RNG-fueled trucks and buses.