Throughout the 19th century, the use of natural gas remained localized because there was no way to transport large quantities of gas over long distances. In 1890, the invention of a leak-proof pipeline coupling made it possible to transport gas miles from the source. Improvements in pipeline technology continued over the next two decades until long-distance gas transmission became practical. From 1927 to 1931, laborers constructed more than 10 major natural gas transmission systems in the United States, making natural gas a viable energy source for many applications. The oil shortages of the late 1960s and early 1970s brought renewed interest in natural gas as a fuel source, especially for automobiles.
Today, owners of natural-gas vehicles can fill up their cars at one of 1,300 fueling stations located in the United States. Honda also offers a personal natural gas pump to people who purchase its natural-gas-powered Civic. The pump uses a home's existing natural gas lines and can be installed for $500 to $1500.
In the next section we'll discuss how natural-gas vehicles are designed.