How Natural Gas Fuels the American Economy

Natural gas production is on the rise in the U.S., and that’s a good thing. It reduces our dependence on foreign oil sources, employs over 4 million Americans, is ecofriendly, sustainable, and affordable. Natural gas is a contributing factor to a strong U.S. economy. 

Reduced Dependence on Foreign Oil Sources

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that in 2018, net imports from foreign countries was 11 percent, the lowest percentage since 1957. Right now, over 97% of the natural gas used domestically is produced here. 

In the past, when OPEC raised prices or a pipeline burst on the other side of the world, we were impacted. Relying on oil from global sources like Venezuela, the Middle East, and Africa, left the economy vulnerable to conflicts and disruptions happening in these regions. In fact, there’s even evidence that the last 10 of 11 U.S. recessions followed a spike in oil prices. 

By producing our own energy, the U.S. has more control over the cost and isn’t susceptible to sudden price spikes from unstable foreign oil sources. This helps to keep the price at the pump for natural gas stable and predictable, which benefits our economy. 

The Natural Gas Industry Employs Millions of Americans

Currently, the industry employs over 4 million people in the U.S. in many different types of roles like field workers, engineers, scientists, researchers, analysts, sales, administrative, accounting, technology, etc. The Florida Natural Gas Association (FNGA) reports that 35,000 new jobs are created for every 1 percent of increased production of natural gas. 

One sector of the industry seeing tremendous growth is renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG has seen a 150% increase in facilities over the last five years. And with 50 additional facilities currently under construction or in development, even more RNG job opportunities will open up in the near future. According to an Energy Wire Report:

“Jobs for natural gas have continued to outpace job growth in other generation technologies as natural gas has become the largest source of electrical generation in the United States and the largest source of new generation.”

Natural Gas is a Win for the Economy and the Environment

Many Americans are concerned about the environment, and rightfully so.  Companies and individuals frequently make buying decisions based on environmental impact. The natural gas industry is helping to build the economy and clean up the environment. It produces nearly one-third less carbon dioxide than coal and almost half less than oil when it is burned. Plus, there’s virtually no sulfur emission, so fueling vehicles with natural gas is an eco-friendlier than many of the alternatives. 

RNG, in particular, when used as a fuel for transportation, mitigates methane emissions and even helps sequester carbon from certain sources.  According to an article in Biomass Magazine

California Air Resources Board finds the reduction in carbon emissions from using RNG transportation fuel derived from organic waste in landfills and wastewater to be comparable to the carbon intensity of electric vehicles. RNG from dairy waste results in a carbon intensity score around negative 200, by far making it the lowest-carbon fuel available. – Marcus Gillette, Director of Public Affairs, Coalition of Renewable Natural Gas

Using natural gas to fuel vehicles is a win-win situation for the environment and the economy.

Natural Gas is Affordable

Natural gas is also very affordable because of its abundance and availability here in the U.S. An IHS study shows that 800 trillion cubic feet of natural gas can be developed for approximately $3 per cubic foot. Plus, there is nearly 2x as much recoverable gas available at $4 per cubic foot.  There are also incentives that make the use of natural gas products like RNG for fuel very attractive such as:  

  • VW Settlement’s Environmental Mitigation Trust (EMT) Fund, which has millions of dollars available for states to replaces its old diesel vehicles with cleaner trucks and buses.  
  • Federal and state programs that offer incentives for fleets to purchase new, cleaner trucks. 
  • Tax incentives for switching to cleaner vehicles and fuel.
  •  A rapid payback period. 

Natural gas also provides the largest, most cost-effective reductions in transportation-related pollutants for powertrain option commercial vehicles. RNG fuel is affordable, clean, and it’s available right now for commercial vehicles. 

American Natural Gas (ANG) is a veteran in the transportation industry. Founded in 2011 and located in Saratoga Springs, NY, ANG builds, owns, operates and maintains a growing network of CNG stations across the U.S. 

About the Author

Jennifer Lester is a freelance writer and social media strategist who covers topics related to energy and workforce. She has been writing professionally since 2015 and was a high school teacher prior to that. Jennifer is a graduate of Texas A&M University and a member of the American Writers and Artists Inc. Association. Her articles have been featured on Pink Petro and Experience Energy. She lives in Houston, TX and is the proud mom of three boys.

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