Courier Exchange Blog

Which Green Suits Me Best? Part 4: Natural Gas/Biomethane

Posted by on 25-Jul-2018 10:43:09

Compliance. Low carbon. Green options. Alternative fuels. The jargon alone is enough to actually almost turn you green! But the truth is that, when it comes to making the change to an environmentally friendly van, just like your dinner, any greens are good. So let’s talk about natural gas/biomethane.

The Case for CNG


Another day, another acronym in the saga of going green; but this one is pretty easy to remember: Compressed Natural Gas. If it sounds familiar, it’s because most of us are already using it in our day-to-day life. It’s the same gas used in our boilers and gas cookers, only now we get to run our vans on it as well!

How? Well it’s used in conjunction with the same kind of engine used in petrol vehicles (spark ignition), but the gas is stored on board in pressurised receptacles. Now, the eagle-eyed of you may have noticed at the beginning of the post we also mentioned biomethane – so what’s the difference? Also a very simple explanation: natural gas is a fossil fuel, but biomethane is a sustainable version of it produced from organic waste. Couldn’t be greener if you tried...

At a Glance

CNG vehicles are certainly up for the job as an option for those doing self employed courier work, with long range capabilities and up to 300 miles per tank. But in order to make an informed decision you’ll also need to know:

  • Load space is not affected but payload can be reduced by around 10% due to weight of the gas tanks.
  • They can be fitted with a reserve tank in case you run low on gas.
  • While there are limited fast fill public refuelling stations across the UK, the number is growing. Smaller depots or home units can refuel overnight.
  • CNG vans are great for air quality, with similar CO2 emissions to diesel – and when biomethane is used, this is increased up to 60%.


It’s also important to know what incentives the government is offering in terms of CNGs before you decide if it’s the green option for you.

Because its levels of tailpipe emissions are similar to diesel engines, CNGs are not as highly incentivised as electric vehicles. However, the government is offering lower fuel duty, which is fixed until 2025 at 3.16p/l or 24.7p/kg.

Switching to a natural gas/biomethane vehicle is just one of the options on offer when you’re looking for an appropriate solution to ensure you comply with the upcoming legislation. But it’s horses for courses, so they may or may not be for you. Have a read of the other posts in this series to see what else is on the market before you make your decision on which green suits you best…