ADAC: ‘Natural gas is fuel with best carbon footprint’

New study by Germany's leading automobile club shows driving on natural gas is least harmful to the climate


Natural gas when used as a car fuel is currently the least harmful to our climate, according to the preliminary results of a new study by Germany’s leading automobile club, ADAC, released yesterday. In the results, natural gas or CNG powered cars are followed by electric- and diesel cars (which are practically on par).

The new ADAC study, covered here by one of Germany’s leading business newspapers, Handelsblatt, shows that – compared with petrol, diesel and electric cars, which drive using the current electricity mix – natural gas-powered cars perform best if all the relevant energy components are calculated across the entire life cycle of the car.

Conducted by research institute Joanneum Research, the study analysed and compared the exhaust emissions from cars running on the most common fuel (or energy) types. This included greenhouse gas emissions generated during vehicle manufacturing and recycling, as well as all emissions released during the fuel or electricity production, provision and consumption. In other words, from well-to-tank as well as from tank-to-wheel. In addition to carbon dioxide, which is mainly produced during the combustion of fossil fuels, methane emissions (CH4) from gaseous fuels and nitrous oxide (N2O) from the cultivation of biomass were also considered.

The preliminary evaluation of the data released this week provided a ‘small surprise,’ as ADAC explains in its article: the natural gas car has the best greenhouse gas balance over its life cycle. Only an e-car driving on 100 percent renewable electricity would have a significantly better carbon footprint than a natural gas-powered car, according to ADAC.

ADAC also mentions that it a more comprehensive greenhouse gas balance report based on this new data will follow at the end of September 2019.

Source: ADAC