California Fleets Fueled with bio-CNG Repurposing a Captured Climate Pollutant for Use as Carbon-Free Motor Fuel
Bio-CNG Achieved Annual Average Carbon Intensity Score of -98.98 gCO2e/MJ for 2022
Washington, DC – Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVAmerica) and Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas (RNG Coalition) – with partners California Natural Gas Vehicle Partnership and California Renewable Transportation Alliance – today announced that California fleets fueled with bio-CNG achieved carbon-negativity in their transportation operations last calendar year for the third straight year.
Renewable natural gas (RNG) accounted for 97% of all on-road fuel used in natural gas vehicles in California in 2022. According to data from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) the annual average carbon intensity score of bio-CNG in that mix was -98.98 gCO2e/MJ.1
Captured above ground from organic material in agricultural, wastewater, landfill, or food waste, RNG can produce carbon-negative results when fueling on-road vehicles like short- and long-haul trucks, transit buses, and refuse and recycling collection vehicles.
“When used as a transportation fuel, RNG displaces gasoline and diesel in applications that are difficult – if not virtually impossible – to electrify,” said Daniel Gage, President of NGVAmerica. “California fleets running on RNG achieve a carbon negative result today, making RNG better than zero.”
The use of RNG as a transportation fuel in California grew 169 percent over the last five years. NGVAmerica and RNG Coalition report that in 2022 a total of 197.45 million gallons (DGE)2 of natural gas were used as motor fuel in the state. Of that, 190.46 million gallons (DGE) were from renewable sources.3
“RNG facilities address methane emissions from society’s inevitable waste streams, mitigate the environmental impacts of those emissions and convert captured methane into domestic, renewable, clean fuel and energy,” said Johannes Escudero, Founder & CEO of RNG Coalition. “These numbers highlight the critical role that RNG plays in decarbonizing the transportation sector today.”
Data from CARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program confirms that bio-CNG remains the only net-zero carbon motor fuel in California’s alternative motor fuel portfolio, which includes ethanol, biodiesel, renewable diesel, bio-CNG, bio-LNG, electricity, alternative jet fuel, and hydrogen.4
In addition to their negative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, ultra-low NOx medium- and heavy-duty RNG-fueled trucks and buses perform at levels that are 95 percent below the federal nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard and 98 percent below the federal particulate matter (PM 2.5) standard.5 NGVs virtually eliminate criteria pollutant emissions that contribute to asthma, heart disease, and poor air quality.
Aggressive goals to decarbonized transportation over the next decade will only be achieved by prioritizing the transition of heavy-polluting, high mileage commercial fleets to cost-effective carbon-negative solutions like RNG fueled trucks. These trucks are commercially available now, accruing and compounding significant clean air and carbon reductions today.
Unlike still-in-development ZEV options, battery electric and hydrogen, RNG-fueled trucks and buses have access to an established California public fueling infrastructure and a mature network of servicers and suppliers. RNG trucks are affordable and scalable, meeting range and operations requirements for any commercial medium- and heavy-duty application. And RNG fueled trucks and buses do not rely on components sourced and controlled overseas.
1 California Air Resources Board, Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program, Certified Fuel Pathways. Available at: https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/resources/documents/lcfs-pathway-certified-carbon-intensities.
2 DGE = diesel gallon equivalent.
3 Total Natural Gas in Transportation Figure derived from U.S. EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook (2023) and RNG numbers derived from U.S. EPA Renewable Fuel Standard Program reporting with adjustments made based on fueler member reporting.
4 California Air Resources Board, Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program, Certified Fuel Pathways. Available at: https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/resources/documents/lcfs-pathway-certified-carbon-intensities.
5 Cummins, Inc. Available at: https://www.cummins.com/engines/natural-gas.
NGVAmerica is a national trade association of sustainability solutionists and experts in the clean transportation field. Our roughly 200 members are dedicated to the development of a growing, profitable, and sustainable market for vehicles, ships and carriers powered by natural gas and biomethane. NGVAmerica member companies produce, distribute, and market natural gas and biomethane across North America, manufacture and service natural gas vehicles, engines, and equipment, and operate fleets powered by clean-burning gaseous fuels. Find out more at: www.ngvamerica.org.
Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas is the non-profit association providing public policy advocacy and education for the sustainable development, deployment, and utilization of renewable natural gas in North America. RNG Coalition membership is comprised of 380+ leading companies, municipalities, ports and airports, colleges, and universities throughout the United States and Canada. Find out more at: www.rngcoalition.com.