NGV Safety

At PG&E, we believe that it is everyone's responsibility to keep our environment clean and safe. One way is by using natural gas to fuel your vehicle. Natural gas is lighter than air, dissipates rapidly and is harder to ignite than conventional fuels. It is the same fuel that you use to heat your home, cook your food, and dry your clothes. Natural gas can also be used as a transportation fuel in one of two forms: compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied ( LNG). As transportation fuel it has the benefit of providing a high level of safety as compared to gasoline. If accidentally released into the environment, natural gas is less of a hazard than petroleum fuels.

NGVs (Natural Gas Vehicles) are as safe, or safer than any gasoline-powered vehicle. There are over one million NGVs in use around the world, and without one fatality attributable to natural gas, it’s the safety record is unblemished.

Adequate training is required to operate and maintain natural gas vehicles because they are different than gasoline or diesel vehicles. Training and certification of service technicians is required. Learn more about alternative fuels training programs.

Compressed natural gas is a vapor (unless cryogenic) and not a liquid. It has unique properties that make it relatively safe compared to other fuels, unlike liquid fuels, which puddle on the ground when there is a leak or spill. Natural gas being lighter than air will disperse into the atmosphere. Natural gas does not cause cancer and it’s non-toxic to breathe and to touch. In addition, natural gas will not pollute surface or ground water like petroleum fuels can.

The ignition temperature of natural gas is 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit compared to about 600 degrees Fahrenheit for gasoline, making it more difficult to ignite. Natural gas will burn only when the proper air-to-fuel ratio exists. In concentrations of air below 5 percent and above 15 percent natural gas will not burn (unlike gasoline).

For detailed information about natural gas, see the Material Safety Data Sheet below.

Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) (PDF, 157 KB): Mandated by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) in Hazard Communications Standard 29CFR 1910.1200.