A low temperature chemical vapor deposition method is described for converting CH4 into high-quality carbon nanofibers (CNFs) using a Ni catalyst supported on either spinel or peroyskite oxides in the presence of CO2. The addition of CO2 has a significant influence on CNF purity and stability, while the CNF diameter distribution is significantly narrowed. Ultimately, the addition of CO2 changes the CNF structure from fishbone fibers to thin multiwalled carbon nanotubes. A new "in situ" cooling principle taking into account dry reforming chemistry and thermodynamics is introduced to account for the structural effects of CO2. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.