Oil and gas have been lumped together as like energy sources for a long period of time. While they’re both non renewable fossil fuels, and natural gas often accompanies liquid petroleum in wells, there are enough gas-only sources and uses that they should be considered as independent entities. When you look at availability, low emissions and cheaper price of natural gas, it should be considered as the preferred fossil fuel.

When addressing energy independence and national security, natural gas is a very attractive alternative to oil. Gas is abundant domestically, while more than 60 percent of the oil we consume needs to be imported, and largely from unstable and even hostile regimes. The domestic supply of natural gas continues to increase with new discoveries and new techniques such as horizontal drilling.

Gas burns much more cleanly than oil or coal. According to the Department of Energy, fossil fuels supply 85 percent of the primary energy consumed in the United States and are responsible for 98 percent of emissions of carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide emissions of oil is 44 percent, coal is 36 percent and natural gas is 20 percent. While natural gas is far from the zero-emissions goals of renewable energies, it’s abundance and cleaner burning profile makes

Compressed natural gas is an attractive alternative to gasoline as an energy source for vehicles. In fact, there’s a growing push for tax credits for cars that run on compressed natural gas, including a bill that recently passed in Colorado. Natural gas vehicles can also be fueled directly in the home via the home gas supply line, saving trips to fueling stations and fueling can be accomplished easily overnight when the vehicle isn’t in use.

The abundance of natural gas also makes it a cheaper energy source than oil, and the decoupling of the two could further achieve more favorable price margins. Currently, natural gas is 10 to 15 times cheaper than crude oil. Further globalization of the natural gas market could help drive the price of gas down further, making it much more attractive in the future.

Based on all of these above factors, it’s time to further separate gas from oil. Perhaps we need a national campaign to tout the energy advantages of natural gas a cleaner, safer and cheaper alternative.