Meanwhile, Europeans can buy CNG vehicles from seven automakers including General Motors, Ford and Volkswagen. Residents of South America and Asia also enjoy the cost savings and low emissions of CNG. In all, more than 28 CNG models are in production globally by Audi, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Lincoln, Mercedez-Benz, Opel, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen.
Though the U.S. has 10 times more drivers than the top countries, we are running seriously behind on CNG numbers.
CNG Vehicle Numbers By Country
The table below reflects the number of CNG vehicles currently circulating in leading countries.
||Approximate Number of CNG Vehicles|
Sources: Gas Vehicles Report, December 2010, www.iangv.org/tools-resources/statistics.html
The NGV market has jumped from 1.7 million to 10.5 million vehicles around the world, with an average growth rate of 30.6% since 2000. The rapid growth is due largely in part to global economic factors and the current energy crisis, but is also attributed to increasing environmental awareness. Many countries are using natural gas vehicles to meet aggressive fuel emissions reduction goals over the next decade.
If the annual growth rate of the CNG market continues at this pace, the impact on oil consumption and fuel emissions will be incredibly significant as early as 2020 — especially as large countries such as the U.S. and China expand use of CNG vehicles to their many consumers. Currently, Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan and Italy account for 62.5% of CNG vehicles on the global market. The U.S., Germany and Russia are developing strategies to boost their numbers over the next decade.
With these countries rising to the challenge of meeting energy, economic and environmental demands in their home lands, the global market for natural gas transportation fuel is expected to be a 400 bcm (billion cubic meters)/year industry by 2020. Just imagine what U.S. conversion could contribute.
Promoting Demand Around The World
Countries with the highest numbers of CNG vehicles in circulation are strategizing the conversion of their vehicular fleets to smooth the transitions for consumers and provide a number of incentives – both financial and socioeconomic – toward CNG vehicle development. Many of these strategies either are – or could be – employed in the U.S. to drive the CNG market.
Argentina & Brazil
Argentina and Brazil have two of the largest fleets of CNG vehicles in the world. Like numerous other countries, a large portion of their public transportation system has been converted to CNG, and this practice is encouraged by government-enforced financial incentives.
In addition, consumer conversion is facilitated by substantial price differentials to diesel engines and fuel. Argentina drivers of CNG vehicles save 20-30 pesos/day fueling with natural gas, and taxation and purchase on CNG engines is also in favor of the consumer.
Enhancements have been made to the CNG local production and delivery infrastructures to make CNG vehicles more convenient. Moreover, a project called "Blue Corridors" is currently in development for the south cone of South America to connect major cities with "routes" of natural gas fueling stations. These routes – where natural gas is or would be available to fuel CNG vehicles – will enhance the existing refueling infrastructure.
Gasoline in Europe sells for over $8 per gallon (about 4.5 liters), therefore a government mandate to motivate conversion to alternative fuels is unnecessary. Nonetheless, financial incentives from the government to pay for as much as 75% of conversion costs, and environmental concerns provide further incentives among the European community.
While many European countries are developing the CNG vehicle market, Italy, Russia and Germany are currently dominating the agenda. Italy has the largest number of CNG vehicles in Europe and is the 4th largest country in the world for CNG vehicles on the road.
Germany, Poland and France are rapidly working to catch up with Italy. Germany plans to expand their numbers to include 2 million CNG vehicles in circulation by 2020, facilitated by an aggressive program to decrease carbon emissions, and increasing the number of CNG fueling stations from 700 to 1,000 by the end of 2008.
While Canada may not have as many CNG vehicles as some other countries listed, their campaign for widespread use of CNG is becoming highly effective and is worth mentioning. Canadians are marketing CNG as an economic motor fuel and have started by converting transit buses, light trucks and taxis to run on CNG, driving the increased demand for fueling stations.
Because of this, fueling stations are already easy to find in major centers throughout the country.
India & Pakistan
India’s capital, New Delhi, is home to the largest fleet of CNG public transportation vehicles in the world. The use of CNG vehicles is mandated for the city, and by setting this solid example from the nation’s capital, consumers throughout the country are following suit. Automakers are currently vying for marketing positions to further India’s efforts for CNG conversion.
Pakistan is receiving similar attention with the second-largest fleet of CNG vehicles in circulation for public transportation. Toyota Pakistan and Suzuki Pakistan, among others, are quickly producing new models to meet the rising national demand for both public transportation and consumer vehicles.