Nevertheless, many believe that natural gas remains better suited to generating electricity than powering trucks and cars. For one thing, BP's Meggs notes, producing electricity more cleanly should be a higher priority. Globally, 40 percent of carbon dioxide emissions spew from power plants, double the amount that comes from ground transportation. Moreover, natural gas is a wonderful complement to wind as a power source. Wind power can be intermittent. That requires a backup fuel supply that can be switched on instantly when the wind dies and switched off just as quickly when it starts blowing again. Natural gas is the only fuel capable of performing that task.
Clearly, natural gas has a prominent role to play in America's energy mix. But whether it's capable of truly freeing the country from dependence on foreign fuel suppliers and whether it will ever be that much cheaper than oil, well, the answers to those questions remain as murky as a gallon of crude. l