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Endesa - Electricity, Gas, People

Gas vehicles: What do NGV, LPG, CNG and LNG mean?

Published on October 23, 2018

Natural gas is revolutionizing the transport world at a time in history when humans face one of their most important challenges: climate change.

The world is changing. Climate change is forcing us to rethink life - our lives and that of the planet. One of the key points is to move toward a low carbon economy.

Transport will play a crucial role in this transition. From planet-oil we will move on to a more varied model in which electric vehicles or less polluting fuels such as natural gas will progressively predominate. Compared to oil, it is cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

Gas vehicles generate very few solid particles, make less noise, and generate about 30% less carbon dioxide than petroleum products. This big change has already begun, but anyone interested is immediately faced with a rather confusing mix of acronyms. Here are simple explanations of all of them:

What NGV stands for

NGV is the acronym for Natural Gas Vehicle. Which means: natural gas used as vehicle fuel.

Whether in the form of LNG or CNG, its composition (mainly methane) and its advantages are the same:

  • Cleaner: reducing emissions of solid particles and greenhouse gases (carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide).
  • Quieter: thus helping to combat noise pollution, the veritable urban disease of our time.
  • Cheaper: currently about 50% cheaper than petrol.
  • More practical: these vehicles have the ECO label, so they can go anywhere even in low emission zones.

For these reasons, gas powered vehicles are becoming common in transport companies, bus fleets, and even shipping companies. Although more slowly, they are also being used more by private individuals, as the number of models available and refuelling stations increase.

What CNG stands for

This is the acronym for compressed natural gas (CNG). It is a type of NGV and consists in using gas stored at room temperature at high pressures (between 200 and 250 bar).

It has a range of between 300 and 500 kilometres, so it is mainly used in urban environments: taxis, buses, dust carts, etc. and more and more often by private individuals using a car for work.

What LNG stands for

This is the acronym for liquefied natural gas (LNG). It is a type of NGV and consists of liquid gas stored at -162 degrees, thereby reducing its volume by some 600 times.

It is odourless and colourless, non-toxic and non-flammable. Its enormous range (between 800 and 1,500 kilometres) explains its widespread use in trucks, maritime transport and generally vehicles that have to travel long distances.

What LPG stands for

This stands for liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). It is not a type of NGV, since it is not derived from natural gas. It is a gaseous fuel that is obtained by distilling oil and is made up of butane and propane. It is stored in a liquid state at low pressures (approximately 10 bar).

LPG is 40% cheaper than fossil fuels, while its noise level is 50% less, so is highly recommended for city transport. At present, it is estimated that there are some 50,000 LPG vehicles in Spain, and about 600 refuelling stations.

As for natural gas, there are currently 124 gas companies, 57 of which are publicly owned. These figures will increase in the coming years, as there is a project to introduce 80 more.

Gas vehicles emit about 30% less CO2 than those running on petroleum products.