The Next Big Thing: 7 US Cities Cleaning Up with Natural Gas

on March 06, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Mayor Gavin Newsom Announces "Green Cab Milestone"

When you’re talking about trends, it’s usually the major cities in the U.S. that create them. From there, the smaller towns around the major city adopt the trend and it continues to spread onward. The green movement has done just that, with cities being the first to implement recycling programs and finding sustainable solutions to harmful problems.

As alternative energies are becoming more diverse and affordable, cities are naturally embracing them and taking advantage. With that said, here are seven cities now famous for using natural gas in various ways.

New York City Initiates PlaNYC

New York City recently elected a new mayor, but that doesn’t take away from how high former mayor Michael Bloomberg set the bar when it came to developing and implementing green solutions. To do this, Bloomberg created PlaNYC, an initiative with a plan to combat climate change, strengthen the economy, and improve the New York way of life for residents in the city. Natural gas plays a big part in that. For example, one Staten Island ferry running on natural gas saves about $3 million in fuel costs.

Los Angeles Provides Cleaner Public Transportation

Although it’s been known to have billowing clouds of smog throughout its city limits, Los Angeles has turned a new leaf and embraced natural gas, hoping that future generations get to enjoy brighter and bluer skies. Buses in Los Angeles County used to be as loud as a tank and emit exhaust smoke in heaps, but today, it’s the largest natural-gas-powered public transportation system in the U.S., with about 2,200 busses running on cleaner fuel.

Pittsburgh Produces More Jobs in the Natural Gas Industry

Although it’s been known as America’s Steel City for many years, Pennsylvania is now fighting with Alaska and Louisiana to be the nation’s second largest natural gas producer in 2013. Not only has this resulted in an influx of jobs – employment in the energy sector grew to 46,644 employees in 2012 – but there’s also been a significant increase in the gross economic output in the area. With companies like Shell Oil Co. opening petrochemical refineries in the city, this number isn’t expected to level off any time soon.

San Francisco is the Greenest Taxi City in America

While Los Angeles took major steps to improve its public transportation system, the city about five hours northwest of it took a similar approach and is now known as the “Greenest Taxi City in America.” Former mayor Gavin Newsom introduced the Green Taxi Law in 2008, requiring all San Francisco cab companies to cut their greenhouse emissions by 20 percent. Since the inception of the program, cabs fueled by natural gas have lowered greenhouse emissions by about 35,000 tons each year.

New Orleans Wants to Clean Up Its Waters

OK, so Los Angeles and San Francisco have made major changes in how natural gas is used in the city streets. New Orleans, however, has turned its focus to the waters while adding jobs as well. To join the green movement, Governor Bobby Jindal announced that Lockheed Martin would make a $3 million investment in NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility so that it could manufacture cryogenic tanks, resulting in liquefied natural gas that would fuel the systems found in oceangoing vessels.

Chicago Reimburses Those Who Embrace Natural Gas

Much like San Francisco, Chicago has also committed to improving its cab system and implementing the use of natural gas throughout the city. Companies that commit to this initiative can expect to receive reimbursements of up to 100 percent. The city is also focusing on other modes of public transportation, like city buses and shuttles buses, which make frequent long trips to and from the airport. This will also have a positive impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Detroit is Hoping for a Savior in Natural Gas

If there’s anyone in the country scrambling to compare energy providers, it’s the people in the desolate city of Detroit. There’s no doubt about how much the “Motor City” has struggled in recent years, but natural gas could very well be its solution to an economic recovery. Natural gas isn’t only stimulating job growth in the region – something Detroit is desperate for – but it’s also becoming a popular option among automakers as a primary fuel source for the vehicles they manufacture.

Have you noticed any changes in the city that you live in?

Hailey is a recent graduate with a degree in Journalism. Now that she isn’t face first in books she is trying to travel as much as she can. She writes in her free time between fixing up her new house and teaching people how to live a longer, healthier life.