How Converting From Oil to Natural Gas Could Backfire

Natural gas is cheap and plentiful, but will that last long enough for you to recoup a big upfront investment?

Feb 17, 2014 at 1:30PM

Huge discoveries of natural gas reserves sent the price of the clean-burning fuel to their lowest levels in more than a decade last year. But as more homeowners and businesses convert to natural gas, there's a danger that many are ignoring.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, examines the way that counting on cheap natural gas could backfire. Dan notes that based on current prices, converting from oil-based home heating to natural gas allows you to recoup your big initial investment within just a few years. Indeed, commercial trucking businesses are looking at engine conversions, with Westport Innovations (NASDAQ:WPRT) helping to develop natural-gas engines and Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ:CLNE) and General Electric (NYSE:GE) partnering on a network of natural-gas fueling stations around the country. But Dan also goes through some of the reasons why natural gas prices could rise in the future that could make conversion less profitable, including simple increased demand as well as projects to export natural gas. Dan concludes that it's smart to consider plenty of contingencies in making a final choice with a furnace conversion or other natural-gas-based energy solution.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Clean Energy Fuels and Westport Innovations and owns shares of General Electric and Westport Innovations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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