First used to power street lamps and wealthy homes in the 1800s, the number of natural gas applications available today is astounding. 

Generation of electricity

Natural gas plays a far greater role in energizing our power grid than most Americans realize. In fact, natural gas is now the #1 fuel source for electricity generation in the country, overtaking coal after a steady decline in usage over the past decade.

Cleaner and more efficient to burn than other fossil fuels, natural gas is poised for even greater consumption at power plants in the years to come.

Powering American industry

Approximately ⅓ of natural gas consumption in the United States can be attributed to the industrial sector, particularly in large-scale manufacturing and the production of chemicals, hydrogen and fertilizers.

Industrial usage also includes heating, cooling and electricity generation for onsite consumption.

Residential and commercial heating

A major benefit of natural gas is that it is incredibly efficient when burned for heating. Forced air systems are capable of producing heat approximately twice as hot as electric heaters, which is ideal for distributing warmth throughout entire buildings and homes.

Around half of all residential properties in the US are heated with natural gas, along with commercial spaces, factories, office buildings and other facilities requiring climate control.

Cooking in restaurants and homes

Cooking with natural gas provides many benefits over electric ovens and stovetops. Natural gas provides immediate heat and the much higher temperatures required for specific types of cooking.

Affordable, clean and capable of producing precise cooking temperatures, natural gas is the preferred fuel in commercial restaurant and catering settings and is rapidly growing in popularity for cooking at home.

Hot water

Natural gas boilers are popular both in commercial applications and in the home. Heating water with natural gas is both faster and more economical compared to electricity.

Additional residential applications

After heating and cooking, drying clothes is the most common usage of natural gas in the home. Dryers run directly on natural gas. Indoor/outdoor fireplaces and fire pits are also popular, both for space heating and ambiance.

Air conditioning

While most natural gas consumption for cooling is done indirectly, generating the electricity that will then power air conditioning units, models are available on the market that run directly on natural gas. As the technology improves, the potential for natural gas to power both heating and cooling systems in the home is a real possibility.

Transportation

Approximately 3% of the vehicles on American roads are powered by natural gas. This percentage may not seem significant, until you realize natural gas vehicles outnumber electric vehicles three to one.

For now, most natural gas powered vehicles are owned by municipalities or commercial fleets, including public transportation, waste management and trucking, but as the distribution network grows the possibility of natural gas fueled private cars and trucks becomes more real.

Lighting the way

Today, two centuries later, natural gas is still used for outdoor lighting. Some things never change! But as technologies advance, the stage is set for natural gas to pay an even larger part in our everyday lives moving forward. 

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