To the Editor:
This is in response to "Texas dealer sells natural gas, too" (April 28).
As a retired automotive engineer who has worked with compressed natural gas/liquefied natural gas products, I notice there is one small detail that gets overlooked: the longevity of any production motor that is configured to run on CNG/LNG.
The average engine lifespan for one of those vehicles is between 300,000 and 400,000 miles with good service. Some minor changes in cylinder-head valves and valve seat material are the only requirements.
The United States sits on some of the largest natural gas fields in the world. Instead of the government pumping tax dollars into marginal green technologies, why not promote CNG/LNG vehicles? Delivery of the fuel is the same as gasoline. It is delivered to the filling station in liquid form. It is converted to gaseous form at the pump for CNG or remains a liquid for dispensing as LNG.
The two immediate results: There would be a dramatic drop in air pollution because natural gas burns much cleaner than petroleum-based fuels, and the United States would become the economic powerhouse of the world virtually overnight.
Bi-fuel vehicles are not new. They have been sold in other markets for decades. Operators of large fleets of buses and trash trucks rediscovered CNG/LNG technology and switched over years ago.
This approach would be much better than wasting corn to make alcohol or paying to manufacture and dispose of large batteries. Alcohol wreaks havoc on any aluminum part it touches. Battery-powered cars are just plain stupid. The sole advantage of a battery is portable electricity. If the total cost accounting approach is applied to either technology, the numbers just don't add up to any savings.
Costa Mesa, Calif.