Natural gas is a type of naturally occurring fossil fuel that is extracted from deep within the Earth’s core. Gas accounts for about 21% of the world’s total energy use. It is one of the most popular fossil fuels used today, and one of the most widely available for sale in most of the world.
The methane-dominated mixture of natural gas is one of the least harmful types of fossil fuels. Natural gas can produce up to 45% fewer emissions when compared to other forms of burning fuel.
The argument against fossil fuels is strong, but the argument for the continued usage of natural gas is just as steady.
Natural gas is accessible, cheap to acquire, and less harmful than other methods that might double potential carbon emissions. Factors like accessibility and budget can mean that natural gas is still the best, even though it is a fossil fuel by definition.
Would you like to weigh up the pros and cons of natural gas before making your final choice about this type of fossil fuel around the home?
Here are 18 important pros and cons of natural gas to know.
10 Important Pros of Natural Gas to Know
Natural gas isn’t all bad, and fossil fuels don’t all have an equal impact on the environment. As far as fossil fuels go, the use of natural gas releases an estimated 45% less carbon dioxide than other burning methods of fuel.
Considering natural gas in the home?
Here are 10 important pros of natural gas to know first.
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1. Natural gas is one of the most widely available types of fuel.
Natural gas accounts for a total 21% of the world’s fuel usage overall. That’s almost a quarter of our total heating, cooking and energy needs – all covered by just a single, versatile resource.
Coal and wood energy has its drawbacks.
Neither of them can be stored in wet conditions for extended periods of time – and both of them produce far more harmful carbon dioxide fumes than natural gas by comparison.
Coal and wood stocks of the world are also running on empty.
When put next to other fuel types, natural gas is available everywhere – and at least partially better for the environment than burning anything else.
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2. Natural gas is a very versatile energy source.
Natural gas isn’t a one-use buy, but can be used to cater to several of our energy needs all at once.
Gas can be used to cook food, but also to provide heating or power small engines.
Whatever you require it for, natural gas can do it – and since it burns away at a high temperature, it gets you there faster than wood or coal.
This has made natural gas particularly popular in homes, but also widely used to power the world’s industries.
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3. Natural gas can even power cars.
Natural gas isn’t just ideal for fuel and cooking uses, but natural gas can also be used as a more sustainable fossil fuel-based means to power a car!
CNG Vehicles – or compressed natural gas cars – use high-pressure gas tanks to provide enough energy to keep the engine in motion.
Estimates say that there are already as much as 20 million vehicles powered by natural gas on the road as of 2021.
CNG vehicles are a strong competitor for smarter vehicles and battery-powered ones: a CNG vehicle can push out a considerable amount of power without the need for vast amounts of fuel.
Natural gas vehicles are, at least so far, a great option for drivers who have places to be.
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4. Natural gas is reliable – and works anywhere.
Natural gas is a reliable source of energy, and guaranteed to provide the same level of heat or fuel even under extreme conditions where other types of burning fuels would not burn well.
Coals and wooden fires have to be packed in specific ways to be effective. It takes a combination of knowledge and experience to create a good fire.
For traditional fires, all the experience in the world will not help if the environmental conditions are against you. Wet wood or coals will not burn. Conditions like wind can make fire more dangerous to work with.
None of the above is true for natural gas.
Natural gas works almost anywhere, and gas energy remains unaffected even in the worst environmental conditions. Gas is more than just versatile, it’s super reliable.
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5. Natural gas is a more eco-friendly fuel.
Natural gas is a more eco-friendly fuel when put side-by-side with other types of fuel and gas to compare them. Gas creates 45% less carbon emissions than comparative forms of heat – say, wood or coal fires.
Even though natural gas is still, technically, a fossil fuel, it is less harsh on the environment than others.
A switch to natural gas causes less harm to the environment than the long-term use of wood to create the same amounts of energy.
Less natural gas is necessary by-weight to create the same amount of heat you would get from burning wood. It’s not just a more eco-friendly fuel, but natural gas is also a cheaper one.
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6. Natural gas is cheaper to use than other forms of fossil fuel.
Side-by-side comparisons prove that natural gas is a cheaper type of energy to use than other forms of fossil fuels such as coal.
The price of coal goes up almost every year. Demand goes up, while the finite amount of coal in the world can barely keep up with this growing demand.
Natural gas produces more steady heat for less.
Why pay for coal by the pound each year when you could choose natural gas, guaranteed to last much longer on a budget?
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7. Natural gas still burns in bad weather.
Fire and coal can be unpredictable, and even the best trained firestarter cannot predict how every fire will go from start to finish.
Natural gas is easier to control, and does not have the drawbacks that other forms of energy would in rough weather conditions.
Bad weather can strike at any time, and usually does when a fire is being made! Wind, rain and snow can make sure that your fire goes nowhere.
Natural gas is predictable and controllable. Thanks to pressurized gas, it will continue to produce heat no matter the environmental conditions.
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8. Natural gas provides a steady source of energy.
Natural gas will burn for as long as the source allows it.
This means that natural gas is unlikely to suddenly die off while in use, which is a regular problem that users experience when burning other types of fossil fuels.
Reliability is one reason why natural gas continues to be popular almost everywhere in the world.
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9. Natural gas is ideal for long-term storage.
Natural gas is kept in pressurized containers that guarantee they cannot spoil or damage over time.
It is one of the fossil fuels that can be stored for the longest, making it perfect for both homes and industries.
Wood and coal can only be stored for finite periods of time, and even then conditions have to be ideal or your fuel supply will pay for it.
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10. Safer than other forms of fossil fuel.
Fossil fuels can be dangerous.
Most fossil fuel types require at least a little experience to start and maintain. Natural gas is not as complicated, and anyone can start a fire with basic fire safety rules and a switch.
Coal fires can be unpredictable, and might even cause physical harm. Accidents happen.
Natural gas provides far more control and, for this reason, remains the safer choice if you have to choose a fossil fuel.
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8 Important Cons of Natural Gas to Know
We can’t forget the fact that natural gas is still a type of fossil fuel that contributes to the world’s carbon footprint. While it might be the ideal type of fuel for some, it isn’t for everyone.
Here are the 8 most important cons of natural gas to know.
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1. Natural gas still contributes to the world’s air pollution.
Even though natural gas is known to release 45% less harmful pollution emissions into the environment, this doesn’t make it a completely clean form of energy.
Natural gas contributes to pollution and should be used with responsibility.
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2. Natural gas contributes to acid rain.
Acid rain occurs due to the erosion of the world’s atmospheric layers. In part, this is helped along by vast amounts of pollution that traps toxic particles in our atmosphere.
Natural gas is one of the contributors to acid rain.
Again, the use of natural gas comes with the knowledge and responsibility that it can contribute to a larger ecological problem.
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3. Natural gas is an eventually finite resource.
Natural gas out-measures the world’s coal and wood supplies by far, and this is why natural gas is chosen as an alternative over fossil fuels that will deplete fast into the future.
But this doesn’t mean we won’t run out of natural gas…eventually.
While this concern might be decades or even centuries into the future, sustainability means it’s something we should think about today.
As with any other natural resource, don’t waste it.
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4. Natural gas is inflammable – and might be explosive, too.
Natural gas is safe when used correctly, but can prove to be disastrous when used in the wrong ways. Gas accidents account for a large chunk of emergency room visits and per-year fatalities – and nobody wants to become a statistic.
Always use natural gas with serious caution.
It remains inflammable and, under certain conditions, explosive under pressure.
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5. Natural gas is expensive to locate.
Natural gas is available through specific pockets on Earth, but finding the ideal pockets to harvest gas can be a timely and costly process with disastrous environmental consequences when done irresponsibly.
The cost of natural gas exploration is high, even though natural gas might be one of the cheapest forms of fuel to buy on the consumer’s end.
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6. Natural gas installation requires certification.
Natural gas isn’t something that anyone can install, or anyone knows how to work with. Installation requires responsibility (and often certification) to make sure the job has been done right.
It’s a vital step for safety, but can make the use of natural gas more costly to implement.
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7. Natural gas use requires at least some training.
Don’t jump right into the use of natural gas equipment if you have never used any before. Like power tools, natural gas can be dangerous when used incorrectly.
Do your research on how natural gas works. Read the manual. It’s for your own safety!
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8. The maintenance of natural gas pipelines can be expensive.
Natural gas is cheap for the average household, but more expensive on the industry side of things. The maintenance of natural gas pipelines can be expensive when they break down or malfunction (and this could, inevitably, affect what the consumer pays).