US: natural gas is not an attractive fuel for the auto industry image

While natural gas running vehicles have their advantages, the drawbacks seem to weigh heavier today on the US market, a compelling reason explaining why the sales of the type of vehicles have not gained traction.

For example, their mileage ratings are consistently lower than of comparable gasoline-driven models. Many reviews have pointed them to be bland an generally unsatisfying to drive. And they also commend a higher price than their “normal” counterparts. And if that’s not enough yet, here is another major issue – the US Department of Energy says there are only 824 privately operated CNG stations and 74 private LNG stations across the United States. Instead, liquid propane can be had at 2,883 venues and the electric cars can be recharged across 9,572 charging stations or 24,450 charging outlets.

Most of the CNG and LNG stations are also owned and operated by private fleet owners for their own niche of the market – private fleets that have their own infrastructure. There’s also a major difference between CNG and electric vehicles for example – both viewed as green options (the natural gas vehicles still emit CO2 and electric cars have emissions from the used electricity). While Ford just added a flex fuel F-150, in the US the only major automaker to have a CNG model is Honda. So, while EVs have also not been able to meet the standards envisioned by many experts a while back, CNG cars in the US are doing worse. Honda sold around 3,000 units of its CNG-based Civic back in 2008-2009. After the first quarter of the year, it only delivered around 148 units, according to Navigant Research.

Via Forbes

  • Steve Howard

    CNG cars are more expensive to convert or build than LPG cars, CNG stations are vastly more expensive to install than LPG filling stations, and CNG cars require workshops outfitted with special equipment. CNG for mobile transportation actually makes no sense compared to autogas. If only the propane companies would get off their butts and fight for their rightful market share, we could get good results for the autogas industry and our customers. Hey Ferrellgas, Amerigas, Suburban and others: get a clue and get in the game!