Natural gas when used as a car fuel is currently the least harmful to our climate, according to the preliminary results of a new study by Germany’s automobile club, ADAC. In the results, natural gas cars are followed by electric- and diesel cars (which are practically on par). The ADAC study shows that – compared with petrol, diesel and electric cars, which drive using the current electricity mix – CNG cars perform best if all the relevant energy components are calculated across the entire life cycle of the car.
Conducted by research institute Joanneum Research, the study analyzed and compared the exhaust emissions from cars running on the most common fuel (or energy) types. This included greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions generated during vehicle manufacturing and recycling, as well as all emissions released during the fuel or electricity production, provision and consumption. In other words, from well-to-tank as well as from tank-to-wheel.
In addition to carbon dioxide, which is mainly produced during the combustion of fossil fuels, methane emissions (CH4) from gaseous fuels and nitrous oxide (N2O) from the cultivation of biomass were also considered.
The preliminary evaluation of the data provided a ‘small surprise,’ as ADAC explains in its article: the natural gas car has the best GHG balance over its life cycle. Only an e-car driving on 100% renewable electricity would have a significantly better carbon footprint than a CNG car, according to ADAC.