Natural Gas Emissions
AGA believes that natural gas is poised to serve as a foundation fuel for the U.S. economy for years to come. This prospect has increased attention on methane emissions from natural gas systems. While methane is a greenhouse gas, natural gas produces far less carbon dioxide than coal or oil when combusted and serves as a clean, affordable complement to renewable energy.
A study published in Environmental Science & Technology led by a team from Washington State University found that emissions from local natural gas distribution systems in cities and towns throughout the U.S. have decreased in the past 20 years, to levels 36 to 70 percent lower than the 2011 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency inventory. The study concludes that as little as 0.1 percent of the natural gas delivered nationwide is emitted from local distribution systems.
Since 1990, the number of pipeline leaks have decreased 25 percent for pipeline mains and 16 percent for services due to a concerted effort by natural gas utilities to upgrade and modernize our nation’s pipeline network to enhance safety, including the use of better pipe materials, efforts to seal cast iron joints and enhanced leak detection and repair procedures.