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Learn about Natural Gas

What Is Natural Gas?

Much of the natural gas we find and use today began as microscopic plants and animals living in shallow marine environments millions of years ago.

Composed of four hydrogen atoms and one carbon atom, natural gas is the earth's cleanest fossil fuel.

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Safe Natural Gas

There is nothing more important to America's natural gas utilities than the safety of the customers we serve and the communities in which we operate.

AGA members are enhancing the safety of the pipeline network that delivers this essential energy and extending the benefits of clean natural gas to more customers.

The dedicated efforts of natural gas utilities have led to an approximately 50% decline in pipeline incidents over the past 30 years.

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Natural Gas in Your Home

177 million Americans use natural gas to heat their homes, warm their water and cook their food and that number continues to increase. Natural gas is an indispensable part of our modern lifestyle.

Natural gas is an increasingly efficient energy source for water heaters, vehicles, laundry, kitchen, heating, lighting, and outdoor living spaces.

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Every-Day Affordability

More homes and businesses in the United States use natural gas today than ever before due to the affordable and stable price of natural gas and the comfort and reliability it delivers.

Natural gas costs less to use than other major home energy sources. Households that use natural gas for heating, cooking and clothes drying save an average of $874 per year compared to homes using electricity for those applications.

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Natural Gas Moves Our Economy

Natural gas is a catalyst for a growing economy and energy security for our nation. And, natural gas is an important backbone of the U.S. economy.

In addition to the millions of Americans who rely on natural gas, there are more than 5.4 million commercial sector customers in the United States including schools, stores, hotels, restaurants and hospitals — places you go every day. Most of these facilities use natural gas for space and water heating.

How natural gas is good for business »
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Regulatory Oversight

There is significant oversight and regulation focused on the natural gas industry to help ensure public safety.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) establishes federal safety standards for pipelines, and partners with state pipeline safety agencies on inspections and enforcement of intrastate pipelines.

Individual states can regulate intrastate pipeline systems above and beyond federal requirements, and there are hundreds of state-specific pipeline safety regulations currently in place.

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Reliable Natural Gas

Our nation's abundance of natural gas is expected to keep prices low and stable for many decades into the future.

For the next decade and beyond, domestic natural gas supplies are expected to be sufficiently robust to meet growth in demand across all sectors.

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Increased Energy Efficiency

Natural gas usage per household has decreased even as overall demand for energy has risen. This trend is due in part to installation of tighter-fitting windows and doors, better insulation, utility-sponsored energy efficiency programs, and the development of increasingly more efficient natural gas appliances.

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Cleaner Energy

Greater direct use of natural gas for heating and cooling, water heating, cooking and clothes drying can cut carbon emissions nearly in half. That is because natural gas appliances and the network that delivers the energy to your home is extraordinarily efficient.

Electric system losses account for half the energy consumed in the U.S. residential sector. When you factor in energy use and emissions along the full fuel cycle, households with natural gas versus all-electric appliances produce 37% lower greenhouse gas emissions.

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Natural Gas Is Renewable

Renewable gas is natural gas or biomethane produced from existing waste streams and a variety of renewable and sustainable biomass sources, including animal waste, landfills, crop residuals and food waste. Once processed, it is interchangeable with traditional pipeline-quality natural gas. It is carbon neutral, extremely versatile and fully compatible with the U.S. pipeline infrastructure.

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Delivering Gas to You

Natural gas pipelines, which transport more than one-fourth of the energy consumed in the U.S., are an essential part of the nation's infrastructure. Transportation by pipeline is the safest form of energy delivery in the country.

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Expanding Access

Many states are now looking at ways to expand natural gas infrastructure so that more citizens and businesses can access this domestic fuel source. 39 states have adopted or considered innovative expansion proposals, and that number continues to grow. There are also programs to extend affordability, such as LIHEAP.

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Glossary

Browse a comprehensive aplhabetized list of natural gas terminology.

Reference the Natural Gas Glossary »