Natural gas is the world’s cleanest fossil fuel – emitting less atmosphere-harming carbon dioxide (CO2) per unit of energy than any other fossil fuel. Plus it emits less greenhouse gas and nitrogen oxides than coal or oil/petroleum*.
The good news is that natural gas has already played a part in helping to clean the air in many ways, through natural gas vehicles, buses and new energy-efficient technologies.
As an abundant, domestic and affordable source of energy, natural gas is also an important part of California’s energy mix, to help California meet the Federal Clean Air Act and the California Climate Change Initiatives which require a dramatic reduction in combustion emissions and greenhouse gases.
Natural Gas and California’s Future
Despite the strides California has made in the past 30 years, we still have the worst air quality in the country. Poor air quality affects our health, the environment and our economy. We believe that no one energy source can fix the problem. Rather, we need an overall energy portfolio – electricity and natural gas, plus alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro and even renewable natural gas. The ability to achieve a clean energy future is within reach.
Natural Gas is Part of the Solution:
- Natural gas can be produced from renewable sources, such as waste products like wastewater, animal manure, food waste and green waste. This carbon-neutral renewable energy source, called biogas , has the potential to supply up to 20 percent of California’s annual natural gas consumption.
- Natural gas emissions have declined. We regularly collaborate with state and federal agencies, environmental organizations, academia and scientists to study emissions from the natural gas distribution system. These studies give us better data to make more informed decisions and continue leading the industry well into the future.
- Presently, about half of the electricity consumed in California is generated from natural gas. Natural gas provides stability and reliability for clean electric generation and can keep the lights on when solar- or wind- powered electric generation is not available.
- While commercial transportation is by far the largest source of air pollution, SoCalGas® is working with companies to convert vehicles to natural gas. Our natural gas vehicle (NGV) program reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 750,000 tons/year and NOx emissions by 1,600 tons/year.
- Using engine technology that exists today, California could cut vehicle NOx and particulate emissions by 20 percent immediately—just by switching from traditional petroleum to natural gas vehicles.
- The potential over the next few years is even greater. In less than five years, we will have “near zero” natural gas engines that would reduce NOx emissions by 90 percent of today’s standards. That’s right – 90 percent...that’s almost eliminating smog from our air.