A flashback… where it began, tracing back history!!
The first natural gas engine was built in 1860, before the development of the gasoline engine. Although, HONDA today is pushing another alternative as car fuel with its Civic that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG) that has been offered in fleet sales since 1998, and in certain other states since 2005. Recently, HONDA also rolled out its latest CNG sedan nationwide for 2012, based on the current Civic.
However this was not the first time a NGV came into existence. In fact, Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors once offered passenger vehicles fueled by CNG, sold primarily to fleets.
Natural gas has been used as a
motor vehicle fuel
since the 1930s.
The environmental and economic advantages of compressed natural gas were understood by Soviet scientists as far back as in the 1930’s. The first CNG filling stations and NGVs were commissioned for regular operation in 1939.
However during the 1980s, after the WW II, the NGV concept took on strongly again. The national leadership had resolved to develop and implement a large-scale program aimed at massive substitution of oil-based transportation fuels with natural gas. In 1990 NGVs consumed 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
By the end of 1990 the Soviet
Union had built 357 CNG filling stations
in all 15 republics.
By the 1990s almost all types of light, medium and heavy-duty gasoline and diesel engines were reengineered to use natural gas. Cars, buses, trucks, railway engines, air and watercraft were using CNG and LNG. Agricultural and stationary engines powered by natural gas were also developed.
All along, there were six countries – Armenia, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan and Ukraine – that kept their national NGV programs running.