Natural Gas Distribution

U.S. Natural Gas Pipeline Network

Source: EIA

The United States has a widespread natural gas pipeline system, which can quickly and economically distribute natural gas to and from almost any location in the lower 48 states. Gas is distributed using 300,000 miles of transmission pipelines (see map), while an additional 1.9 million miles of distribution pipes transport gas within utility service areas. The distribution system also includes thousands of delivery, receipt, and interconnection points; hundreds of storage facilities; and more than 50 points for exporting and importing natural gas.

In addition to distribution via the nation's extensive pipeline network, renewable natural gas (RNG) can be dispensed at production sites, such as landfills or wastewater treatment plants with the ability to clean and upgrade biogas (the gaseous product of the decomposition of organic matter). Like conventional natural gas, RNG can be compressed or liquefied for use in vehicles.

Compressed Natural Gas Distribution

The vast majority of the nation's compressed natural gas (CNG) supply is distributed via the existing natural gas distribution system.

Most natural gas fueling stations dispense CNG, which is compressed on site in many cases. CNG is used in light-, medium-, and heavy-duty vehicles.

To find this fuel, see CNG Fueling Station Locations.

Liquefied Natural Gas Distribution

Liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which must be super-cooled and stored in its liquid form at -260°F, is converted back into a gas via regasification before it enters the domestic pipeline distribution system and is ultimately delivered to the end-user. LNG can be used in vehicles, although CNG vehicles are more common.

Although most natural gas fueling stations in the United States dispense CNG, a limited number of LNG fueling stations are available. Many LNG users are fleets that have LNG infrastructure dedicated to their vehicles, however, numerous public LNG fueling sites have also opened in recent years. Only a few large-scale liquefaction facilities provide LNG fuel for transportation nationwide. LNG must be delivered to stations via trucks.

To find this fuel, see LNG Fueling Station Locations.