Drilling Down: Natural Gas Usage

You’ve already read our posts about compressed natural gas (CNG) as an emission-reducing fuel alternative. Every day, individuals, small businesses, large companies and entire cities are beginning to see the overwhelming benefit of using CNG to power America and “drive change.” America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) created this video to showcase what people all across the nation are doing to promote energy independence and clean our air supply.

We hope that our readers can see that natural gas not only benefits the nation through vehicle usage, but also through cooking, heating and generating electricity. In today’s Drilling Down, we’ll discuss those aspects of natural gas usage.

In our recent ad for local Susquehanna newspapers and publications, we shared that even though natural gas is invisible, its many benefits are not. Whether cooking, heating or generating electricity, clean-burning natural gas can help reduce smog, acid rain and greenhouse gas emissions, while lessening our dependence on foreign oil.

Naturalgas.org says that more than 60 percent of the oil used in our nation comes from potentially unstable and unfriendly foreign governments. Such energy dependence puts us all at risk. The good news is that America has enough natural gas in Pennsylvania alone to provide our country with up to 100 years of clean-burning energy for our homes, schools, hospitals, industries, vehicles and more.

Residential

Since the 1800s, consumer residences received gas produced from coal for heating and street lighting. Today, many large cities across the world, including the United States, use natural gas to supply residential and commercial consumers with a cleaner, cheaper and more abundant space heating, water heating and cooking solution. According to Naturalgas.org, 22 percent of all natural gas usage in the United States goes toward residential use.

In 2011, the Department of Energy (DOE) estimated that natural gas “is the lowest cost conventional energy source available for residential use.”  Many Americans cook with natural gas and appreciate the benefits of a natural gas range including self ignition, self-cleaning and easy temperature control. We bet that they’re also fans of the fact that cooking with natural gas costs approximately one half the cost of cooking with an electric range, according to naturalgas.com.

In terms of heating, natural gas accounts for the winter warmth of approximately 62 million homes in the United States, which makes up approximately 56 percent of all households in the nation.  For summer months, natural gas can also be used to cool houses through natural gas-powered air conditioning units, which, according to naturalgas.org, “use close to 30 percent less energy than in years past, and have an expected working life of 20 years with very little maintenance.”

Naturalgas.org says that “Other natural gas appliances including space heaters, clothes dryers, pool and Jacuzzi heaters, fireplaces, barbecues, garage heaters and outdoor lights offer a safe, efficient, and economical alternative to electricity or other fuel sources.”

Industrial

According to Naturalgas.org, natural gas usage by industry  is “consumed primarily in the pulp and paper, metals, chemicals, petroleum refining, stone, clay and glass, plastic and food processing industries.” These industries account for more than 84 percent of all industrial natural gas use. Natural gas can also be used for waste treatment and incineration, drying and dehumidification, glass melting and even food processing.

Electricity Generation

According to Natgas.info, “electricity generation is the main non-residential use of natural gas.” Both in the United States and globally, electricity demands are rising. Natgas.info says that this demand, when “coupled with reduced tolerances for nuclear and hydro plants, tightening limits on air, water, and noise pollution emissions, as well as high cost for wind and solar energy,” leaves gas-fired generation as one of the only remaining options for electrical utility companies. Naturalgas.org reports that electricity generation accounts for 24 percent of all natural gas used in the United States.

For more information about the many clean and diverse uses of natural gas, visit The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) page about natural gas. If you want to calculate the cost some of your current living expenses based on natural gas, visit this Natural Gas Usage Calculator site.

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Bill desRosiers

Raised in Highland Falls, New York, William desRosiers learned about responsible resource development, firsthand, as a part of his family's mining business. William received his B.S. in Management, B.A.in History and MBA from Misericordia University. He currently serves in External Affairs for Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation. His primary responsibilities include strengthening media relationships, managing company-run fundraising programs, building better community relations and representing Cabot every chance he has.

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