Russia Shuns Hybrids for Natural-Gas Vehicles

The list of countries smart enough to make the best use of natural gas as a transportation fuel continues to expand. According to Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVA), natural gas powers more than 15 million cars and trucks around the globe. Countries with abundant natural gas resources - Iran, Pakistan, India, Brazil, and China - lead the list with millions of natural-gas vehicles a piece.

The glaring exception to this rule is the country with the world’s greatest natural gas reserves - the U.S. According to the NGVA, America ranks a disappointing 17th on this list behind a whole host of countries with puny reserves.

In an article published on Thursday, April 11, The New York Times notes that another country - Russia - is now seizing the opportunity afforded by this cleaner-burning fuel. Like the U.S., Russia has enormous gas reserves. Unlike the U.S., Russian consumers are shunning hybrid vehicles and jumping straight to natural-gas powered vehicles, as this example demonstrates:

“Igor A. Samarsky of the southern Russian city of Krasnodar gets fuel economy on his 1998 Lada sedan that would make a Prius owner green with environmental envy. For all of 120 rubles — about $3.80, or a little more than a gallon of regular unleaded fuel in the United States — he can drive 140 miles. The Toyota hybrid would need three gallons of gas to drive that distance.”

The reason, according to The Times, is the same one that applies in the U.S.

Economically, it’s no contest at the pump compared with gasoline because natural gas, whose main component is methane, is so abundant and cheap in Russia. It costs about $2 a gallon less than gasoline.

Makes you wonder when the country with the world’s most substantial natural-gas reserves will wake up and get on its own resources, doesn’t it?

Read the entire story in The Times HERE.

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