Performance limitations

Now the not-so-good news: Natural gas-powered vehicles, while more efficient than conventional fossil fuel vehicles, are limited in terms of the power they can produce. Natural gas-powered cars are slow off the mark, and can have problems accelerating up hills.

Natural gas is also more difficult to deal with than liquids: It must be compressed to a pressure of around 3,000 pounds per square inch, so tanks and containers must have a lot of integrity and meet special safety requirements and undergo periodic inspections by licensed professionals. These tanks are also heavier and larger than conventional gasoline tanks, which makes for a more crowded vehicle. In addition, you have to constantly monitor the natural gas tank to make sure there are no leaks and that the tank is maintaining its pressure.

The one real practical limitation is that you cannot take a natural gas vehicle cross country because you simply can't get it filled in most places (see the next section "Availability of natural gas for vehicles" for more information). Therefore, natural gas vehicles are somewhat like electric cars in that they're primarily suited for close-to-home lifestyles.

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