Is there a future for natural gas vehicles in SoCal?

DOWNEY, Calif.

The Southern California Gas Company held a seminar Tuesday on the future of natural gas transportation in Downey.

"Natural gas is really a transportation fuel that's available to us today. It's cleaner, the fuel is abundant, it's cheaper, and it's American," said Hal Snyder, Southern California Gas Company vice president.

Compressed natural gas (CNG) has been around for a long time, and slowly but surely it's becoming a viable alternative fuel source.

Honda is building the only dedicated assembly line natural-gas vehicle.

There are only 1,100 fueling stations in the country, compared to almost 200,000 gas stations.

"It's almost the chicken and the egg: More vehicles, more infrastructure. More infrastructure, more convenience for the market," said Snyder.

Some CNG companies are advancing the technology of fast fueling stations.

Natural gas vehicles are joining company fleets, like taxicabs and buses. The SoCal Gas Co. is converting thousands of its vehicles to natural gas over the next several years. Plus there is a variety of vehicles on the market that can run on natural gas.

"Right now, the price of natural gas on a gallon equivalent is about $1.96," said Snyder.

Plus, you have carpool-lane access in a CNG vehicle.

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