Compressed natural gas transporting Koreans
Motor vehicles are responsible for 23% of energy-related
carbon dioxide emissions (IEA 2010a). Using natural gas
for transport can play an important role in...
emissions. Compressed or liquefied natural gas can power
transport by land, sea, or air. The benefits of using natural
gas range from immediate cost, noise, and emissions
reduction to longer-term improvements in local air quality
and energy security. Studies show emissions reduction
in carbon dioxide equivalent averaging 25% when CNG
replaces gasoline in passenger cars and light commercial
vehicles. In more heavily used vehicles such as buses
and trucks, CNG offers even more significant emissions
reduction (IEA 2010b).
The use of natural gas for transport in the Republic of
Korea became significant with the introduction in 2000
of CNG buses to replace diesel-powered city buses, as
mandated by the country’s Clean Air Conservation Act.
The government provides financial assistance for the
purchase of natural gas vehicles and part of their fuel. In
2006, the government planned to set aside $100 million
to support the program and provide bus operators with
$24,000 for every CNG bus (The Green Car Congress
2006). In Seoul, the city government restricted buses
operating in the city to CNG, starting in 2010. The city government provided subsidies to bus operators for each CNG bus purchased to cover part of the cost differential.
In other major cities, diesel buses at the end of their useful life (9 years by law) are being replaced by CNG buses. The use of CNG buses accelerated in the country in 2006–2010, when over 3,000 CNG buses were added each
year (box figure). As of 2010, the country had 25,996 CNG buses in operation. One-third of them are in Seoul, where improved air quality is convincing proof that government support was a wise investment.
--- Source: Environmental Statistics Yearbook 2011, Republic of Korea.
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