In picturesque Tioga County, Pennsylvania, a truck loaded with super-cooled liquefied natural gas pulls away from an oil and gas well and makes for the highway, on its way to New England.
In most circumstances, this would be a highly unusual arrangement. It’s much faster and cheaper to transport natural gas—the odorless, colorless stuff that is burned in power stations to produce one-third of the nation’s electricity—by pipeline rather than by truck.
But in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and parts of New York and Ohio, home to the natural gas-rich Marcellus Shale basin, there are simply not enough pipelines to transport all the natural gas to other parts of the country. So some producers are resorting to long-haul trucking to sell it to areas of higher demand along the East Coast, in the Midwest and the Southeast. If that’s not feasible, they sometimes simply burn it off into the atmosphere.