Can Gasoline Be Made From Natural Gas?

A Synfuels gas-to-liquids (GTL) refinery converts natural gas into gasoline in numerous processes, but claims to do so more efficiently overall. First, natural gas is decomposed, or broken down “Under high temperatures, it is fractured into acetylene, a simpler hydrocarbon. A unique catalyst transforms 98 percent of the acetylene into ethylene, a more complex hydrocarbon, in a separate liquid-phase step. This ethylene may then be easily transformed into a variety of fuels, such as high-octane gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. And the final product is sulfur-free.

“We can make a barrel of gasoline for a lot less money than Fischer-Tropsch can, says Kenneth Hall, the process’s inventor and former chairman of Texas A&M University’s chemical engineering department. According to Hall, a Fischer-Tropsch refinery is lucky if it can generate a barrel of gasoline for $35, but a much smaller Synfuels refinery could do it for $25. According to the business, such a plant might pay for itself in as little as four years at current fuel prices.

Is there a difference between natural gas and gasoline?

Currently, our civilization is looking into ethanol, biodiesel, hydrogen, propane, and natural gas as fuel options. Compressed natural gas (or CNG) is the most prevalent type of natural gas. It is just natural gas that has been compressed to a high pressure. It is commonly used in heaters, generators, air conditioners, and some vehicles, and it is comparable to gasoline. The following are some of the distinctions between the two:

Composition & Environmental Effects

While natural gas is primarily made up of methane (a hydrogen-based chemical), gasoline is primarily made up of carbon compounds. Both originate from within the ground, however methane can be found in natural reserves, whilst carbon compounds can be found in crude oil. Natural gas emits less hazardous pollutants (such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide) than gasoline since it is mostly hydrogen.


One of the most significant distinctions between natural gas and gasoline is their cost. Because oil is traded on a worldwide scale, price fluctuations are unavoidable. Because oil is transported to countries all around the world, any shift in supply or demand can alter its price.

Natural gas, on the other hand, isn’t traded internationally. Instead of being transported by tankers, most natural gas is pumped through subterranean pipelines, limiting supply to the pipeline’s length. Because of this disparity, gasoline is frequently more expensive than natural gas.


Because compressed natural gas isn’t a liquid, we have to convert cubic feet to gallons when comparing it to gasoline. As a result, 126.67 cubic feet of natural gas would be required to equal the efficiency of one gallon of gasoline. While this implies that one gallon of gasoline is more efficient than one gallon of natural gas, the price factor is important: The average price of gasoline in April was $3.65 a gallon, according to the US Department of Energy, while the average price of natural gas was $2.15 per GGE (gasoline-gallon equivalent). This implies that when it comes to natural gas, you might get more bang for your dollars.

A Conversion…

While natural gas appears to have the upper hand in terms of price and quantity, converting natural gas to gasoline may be a good option. We could save fossil fuels while still fueling millions of gas-powered vehicles this way. Previously, such a process required a lot of energy, but these days, corporations are figuring out how to make it less demanding.

What can you do with natural gas?

Natural gas can be chemically transformed to methanol, chemical feedstocks (such as ethylene), gasoline, or diesel fuel as an alternative to LNG. The conversion of methane to synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, is the starting point for most operations. This can be accomplished through partial oxidation, which is an exothermic reaction, or through steam reforming, which is an endothermic reaction: Badische Anilin patented the catalytic conversion of synthesis gas to methanol shortly after World War I, while Fischer and Tropsch (F-T) disclosed a competitor technique in which synthesis gas was turned into a mixture of oxygenated hydrocarbons using an iron catalyst. Improved F-T catalysts later created a liquid that was extremely paraffinic (waxy) crude oil-like.

Coal was employed as the synthesis gas feedstock for the majority of the early commercialization. Shell-Mitsubishi pioneered the use of stranded natural gas supply to an F-T refinery in a small, 10,000 bbl per day refinery in Sarawak, Malaysia, in 1993. F-T liquids are processed in the usual way to create high-quality gasoline and diesel fuel/kerosene.

As a result of the 1973 oil crisis, Mobil ultimately created a natural gas-to-methanol-to-gasoline method. Using unique Mobil synthetic zeolite catalysts, methanol is converted into gasoline range hydrocarbons. In the 1980s, a tiny New Zealand refinery commercialized this process. Methanol is also the preferred feedstock for making the oxygenated additives required for today’s cleaner-burning gasoline blends.

While numerous different techniques for converting natural gas to liquid fuels (GTL) have been developed, they are generally uneconomical when compared to crude oil feedstocks. Because around a third of the energy in natural gas is lost in the conversion to liquid fuels, GTL requires high gas prices or government subsidies to be competitive.

Fischer-Tropsch Diesel

Fischer-Tropsch diesel is one of the most promising GTL fuels. Fischer-Tropsch diesel reduces pollutants without sacrificing fuel efficiency, causing new infrastructural challenges, or necessitating a larger investment in fuel storage and refueling equipment. The Fischer-Tropsch diesel can be used as a fuel or blended with ordinary diesel that does not meet Federal or California regulations, depending on the price premium for GTL. GTL diesel reduces hydrocarbons by over 20%, carbon monoxide by over 35%, nitrous oxide by roughly 5%, and particulates by around 30% when used alone. Despite the fact that GTL diesel is more expensive than traditional diesel, it appears to be a potential short-term option for the fuel industry to fulfill the California heavy-duty diesel engine requirement, which is set to take effect in 2004. Pilot plants are being developed by ARCO, Exxon, Chevron, and Texaco, among others.

When compared to natural gas, the main advantage of Fischer Tropsch diesel is its liquid nature. It does not require the same infrastructure and compression as CNG, and unlike LNG, it is a liquid fuel that can be treated like any other liquid fuel once converted. Because the GTL process is more sophisticated than traditional refining, it requires low-cost natural gas with a price of less than $1 per million BTUs to stay profitable. GTL diesel would be significantly more expensive than typically refined diesel fuel if stranded gas, which is offered at a significant discount to crude oil, was not available.


Hydrogen, according to many transportation experts, is the fuel of the future. It has a high energy content as well as numerous environmental benefits. However, before hydrogen becomes a cost-effective alternative fuel, large-scale hydrogen production will need to be established. Natural gas conversion is typically regarded as a potential solution for two reasons: Natural gas, which is rich in hydrogen, can be converted more cleanly than coal, and it requires less energy than water conversion.

Is it possible to make gasoline?

Reforming and alkylation are two frequent combining techniques. The former produces “aromatic hydrocarbons that play a significant role in boosting the octane of the completed fuel,” while the latter produces “aromatic hydrocarbons that play a key function in raising the octane of the finished fuel.” Blending is the final step in the manufacturing of gasoline.

What is the process of making gasoline?

Gasoline, commonly known as petrol, is a high-energy secondary fuel that can be viewed as a form of cash. It is utilized to power a variety of heat engines and, more critically, it serves as a source of fuel for a huge number of automobiles. Fractional distillation is used to break down crude oil into several petroleum products, including gasoline. Pipelines are used to transport the completed product to gas stations.

Most internal combustion engines require gasoline to operate. Gasoline is one of the most extensively used petroleum products as a result of this. Gasoline accounts for roughly half of all petroleum products consumed. Diesel, on the other hand, made up 20% and kerosene (or jet fuel) accounted for 8%. The cost of operating a vehicle is affected by the price of fuel, which varies dramatically around the world. Furthermore, oil supply and prices have become increasingly interwoven with the global economy, affecting the consumer basket.

Is natural gas a superior fuel to gasoline?

Gasoline cars with natural gas tanks are ubiquitous on the highways in several parts of the world, such as the Balkans. In other countries, such as the United States, such cars are uncommon. Given the availability of cheap natural gas that the United States has enjoyed in recent years, this may seem surprising. Although firms are attempting to make natural gas a viable alternative to gasoline, the likelihood of natural gas replacing gasoline remains modest, at least for the time being. But, hey, why not?

First and foremost, why is natural gas utilized as a transportation fuel? It is, without a doubt, less expensive than gasoline. It also emits a lot less pollution and has engine efficiency rates that are comparable to gasoline cars. Even better, unlike liquid gasoline, natural gas is a safer fuel because it is lighter than air and evaporates in the event of an accident. Skeptics of gas cars argue that the gas tank, which is usually located in the back of the vehicle, poses an explosion risk, but the risk is reduced with contemporary, professionally installed gas tanks.

As a result, gas is less expensive, cleaner, and safer than gasoline while providing comparable engine performance. So, why haven’t gasoline engines been phased out yet?

Is it true that natural gas is used in automobiles?

Natural gas, a fossil fuel primarily consisting of methane, is one of the most environmentally friendly alternative fuels. It can be used to fuel vehicles and trucks as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Dedicated natural gas vehicles can solely run on natural gas, although bi-fuel vehicles can run on gasoline or diesel as well. When natural gas is available, bi-fuel vehicles allow consumers to take benefit of the widespread availability of gasoline or diesel while also using a cleaner, more cost-effective alternative. Bi-fuel vehicles require two different fuelling systems, which eat up passenger/cargo room, because natural gas is kept in high-pressure fuel tanks.

Natural gas automobiles are not widely available in the United States, with only a handful types now on the market. Conventional gasoline and diesel vehicles, on the other hand, can be converted to run on CNG.

  • Natural gas is generated entirely in the United States. 1
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions by up to 10%2
  • Approximately half the amount of particle emissions that can be hazardous to one’s health.
  • 2
  • It’s cheaper than fuel.
  • Vehicle availability is limited.
  • It’s not as common as gasoline or diesel.
  • Fewer miles per gallon of gas

What is the composition of gasoline?

Gasoline is a petroleum-derived substance made up of a combination of liquid aliphatic and aromatic hydrocarbons with carbon atoms ranging from C4 to C12 and a boiling point of 30225C. It consists primarily of paraffins, naphthenes, aromatics, and olefins.

Is there a difference between petroleum and gasoline?

Gasoline is a petroleum-based fuel manufactured from crude oil and other liquids. Gasoline is mostly utilized in vehicles as an engine fuel. Motor gasoline is produced in petroleum refineries and blending facilities for sale at retail gasoline filling stations.

The majority of gasoline produced by petroleum refineries is unfinished gasoline (or gasoline blendstocks). To manufacture finished motor gasoline, gasoline blendstocks must be blended with other liquids to meet the basic standards for fuel acceptable for use in spark ignition engines.

Some finished motor gasoline is produced by petroleum refineries in the United States. Most finished motor gasoline sold in the United States, on the other hand, is made at blending terminals, where gasoline blendstocks, finished gasoline, and fuel ethanol are blended to make finished motor gasoline in various grades and formulas for consumer use. Detergents and other additives are sometimes combined into gasoline before it is delivered to retail outlets by some corporations.

Blending terminals are more numerous and widely distributed than petroleum refineries, and they feature filling stations for tanker trucks that transport finished motor gasoline to retail outlets.

The majority of finished motor gasoline marketed in the United States today contains roughly 10% fuel ethanol by volume. Ethanol is added to gasoline primarily to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of oil imported from other nations by the United States.

Is it possible to make diesel fuel out of natural gas?

Using gas-to-liquid (GTL) technology known as the Fischer-Tropsch process, it is possible to synthesize diesel fuel from natural gas, despite little coverage in the press. This type of synthetic diesel is also known as GTL diesel or FTD diesel (Fischer-Tropsch diesel). Natural gas is converted into diesel fuel in this method. Other petrochemical products can be synthesized as well, but diesel fuel is the most cost-effective. This method was created in 1923 and used by the Germans to produce diesel fuel for their war vehicles during World War II. Although much work has gone into improving this process to make it more efficient and feasible, diesel fuel has been cheaper to refine from low-cost crude oil for the most of the time since World War II. With the need to produce ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD) to make diesel engines more environmentally friendly (see “Diesel Evolution” and “About Diesel Fuel” elsewhere on this site), as well as our desire to reduce our reliance on Middle Eastern “sweet crude,” synthetic diesel fuel is becoming more economically viable. Even better, the US has vast supplies of low-cost natural gas (from Alaska or off the coast) that might be used in the process, making our diesel fuel an all-American product.