Depressed fuel prices have hampered sales of natural gas vehicles (NGVs), but a recent report from Navigant Research suggests it won’t have a long-term negative impact.
The report suggests total sales of NG vehicles (NGVs) are expected to reach more than 35 million from 2015 to 2025. According to the Natural Gas Data Center, natural gas currently powers roughly 150,000 vehicles in the United States and around 15 million vehicles worldwide.
Sam Abuelsamid, senior research analyst with Navigant Research, says for the fuel to reach its potential in the market, an infrastruture will have to develop to support it.
“For (natural gas) to reach its full potential as a transport fuel, easy access to refueling stations and a large population of NGVs are required,” he says. “Without a critical mass of vehicles in need of (natural gas) fuel, station operators are unwilling to invest in equipment, and without easy access to stations, retail customers won’t commit to purchasing NGVs.”
According to the report, a majority of NGVs use compressed (CNG) as opposed to the liquid gas (LNG). Despite its lower energy density compared to LNG, CNG is generally considered a better option for NGVs operating within a limited range where extended driving range is not required. LNG also requires extra processing procedures, making it more expensive.