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How Natural Gas Engines Work

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When consumers hear the phrase natural gas, they may experience some confusion when comparing that power source with the gasoline they put into their vehicles on a regular basis. Like gasoline and diesel - which are both refined from crude oil or petroleum, natural gas is also a fossil fuel, in that it is formed from the decay of long-dead organisms. Unlike gasoline or diesel, however, natural gas naturally takes a gaseous instead of liquid form. In nature, natural gas can be found both in combination with petroleum or in mined pockets that contain only gas.

Natural gas is a catchall name that actually encompasses many types of gases that are all single bond combinations of carbon and hydrogen. Some forms of natural gas include methane, butane, and propane. Because natural gas is a combustion fuel, just like gasoline or diesel, natural gas cars work very similarly. The difference in impact between traditionally fueled vehicles and natural gas cars is that the mining and refining process for natural gas is much safer and cleaner and is far less detrimental to the environment.

There are two main difference between a traditional fuel engine and a natural gas engine. The first is that a natural gas car requires a higher temperature to ignite the fuel and thus start the engine. The second is that because natural gas is in gaseous form instead of liquid, a smaller fuel tank is required in these types of vehicles. With just a few engine modifications, however, automobile manufactures can produce natural gas cars as alternatives to traditional vehicles.

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