By Cars.com EditorsOctober 23, 2012
About the video
With gas prices on the rise, Cars.com Executive Editor Joe Wiesenfelder takes a look at a vehicle that runs on compressed natural gas.
<v Narrator>Cars.com Auto Reviews. Hi, I'm Joe Wiesenfelder with cars.com. We thought we'd take you along to refill the CNG compressed natural gas tanks in our Ram 2,500 pickup truck. Here at this particular station, it works just like anywhere else.
You can use a credit card. It is verifying that, while that's happening, I'm gonna open the two valves that allow the gas to flow into the cylindrical CNG tanks. Otherwise fuel has no place to go. They jam both of the fillers for this bi fuel vehicle into one opening. There's regular gasoline, cause it's bi fuel it'll turn over to gasoline power When you run out of CNG. Here is the CNG port. Now the tough part is because it's jammed in here like this. We've got to get the lever connected like that. So now when you hear it start like a hissing sound a little bit louder than a regular gas pump, but you'll notice similar to a regular gas pump. You get your price information and your gallon of gas equivalent. Our filling pressure is just about 3000 pounds per square inch, which is what we want. Now our tank holds a just over 18 GGE, Gasoline Gallon Equivalent. We've hit about 14.584, and it's done filling. So we'll just do it all in reverse. Close that, wait for it to shut off, print receipt, of course, and then we disconnect. Now there are some commercial vehicles lined up for the pump. So we're going to move on and wrap up someplace else. So we'll be right back. Now filling that much CNG took more than five minutes and actually filling it all the way to the 18 Plus GGE took more like 10 minutes. So a little bit longer than the liquid fuels, but if you compare them, gasoline faster, E 85 ethanol faster, diesel also faster. Now you compare to electric, which is real popular right now. This is actually faster than that. You generally have to charge overnight with electric. Yes, there's level three quick charging. We've done a video on that. Once you actually do it, you find out it can take longer than the 30 minutes they say for an 80% charge. So some advantages here, another comparison to electrics, you can recharge at home with compressed natural gas, If you have a compressor to do it because the pressure's not high enough in your home. So that's similar, you let it run all night, you get a full tank or you can go out in public, if you can find it, just like level three electric, fill it more quickly. Now, if you're concerned about safety, Ooh, natural gas sounds scary. Got these tanks back here. Frankly, gasoline is extremely dangerous. I wouldn't have gasoline in my house, but I have natural gas in my house. It runs my furnace. There are different types of fuel. They all have different dangers. I don't know that there's any reason to worry about CNG over anything else you can use. In terms of drivability, compressed natural gas has less energy than gasoline, so even though the truck uses the same engine to drive the car with the two different fuels, it's less powerful with CNG. Obviously with all those commercial trucks, they need power and they do just fine. You'll still get more with gasoline. Now, this is technically a fleet vehicle. If you wanted CNG for yourself, you could get a car that is a Honda civic CNG. For the first model year, it is now available across the country, they say. Not a bad way to go. It's clean. It can cost about half, as much as running on gasoline. A little bit less power than the gas version, but not a bad way to go. Good, clean alternative. <v Narrator>For more car related news, go to cars.com or our blog kickingtires.net.