Natural Gas Vehicles on Roadways Worldwide Will Reach Nearly 35 Million by 2020

June 25, 2013

Driven by a combination of low-cost natural gas and sustained higher prices for gasoline and diesel, the market for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) is gaining increased traction in many regions.  While these vehicles have been in service in certain countries for many decades, interest in NGVs has spread in recent years along with the surge in supply of low-cost natural gas.  According to a new report from Navigant Research, the number of NGVs on roadways worldwide will increase steadily over the remainder of this decade, reaching 34.9 million by 2020, up from 18.2 million in 2013.

“NGVs experienced a brief surge in popularity in the 1970s and early 1980s as a result of the 1973 oil embargo and the price shocks that followed,” says Dave Hurst, principal research analyst with Navigant Research.  “Today, growth in the market is being fueled less by negative external events and more by positive industry developments, such as increased vehicle availability, a stronger focus on the largest users of fuel in new regions, and a greater openness to alternative fuel vehicles on the part of motorists and fleet operators.”

Natural gas, which exists as a gas at ambient air temperature, must be compressed or liquefied in order to increase the volume of fuel the vehicle can carry and to improve the vehicle’s range.  Compressed natural gas (CNG) is compressed to 3,600 pounds per square inch.  Liquefied natural gas (LNG) occupies about 30 percent less space than CNG, but the gas must be super-cooled to -259°F (-160°C) before it liquefies.  While more LNG fuel fits into the same amount of space as CNG, LNG tanks are larger, heavier, and more costly, according to the report, limiting LNG to medium and heavy duty trucks and buses.

The report, “Market Data: Natural Gas Vehicles”, provides global market data and forecasts for passenger cars, light duty trucks, and medium and heavy duty trucks and buses.  In addition to sales forecasts for vehicles and for refueling infrastructure extending through 2020, the report examines key factors influencing growth in the NGV market, including economic forces, fuel prices, and overall automobile market trends.  An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the Navigant Research website.

Contact: Richard Martin


* The information contained in this press release concerning the report, “Market Data: Natural Gas Vehicles,” is a summary and reflects Navigant Research’s current expectations based on market data and trend analysis. Market predictions and expectations are inherently uncertain and actual results may differ materially from those contained in this press release or the report. Please refer to the full report for a complete understanding of the assumptions underlying the report’s conclusions and the methodologies used to create the report. Neither Navigant Research nor Navigant undertakes any obligation to update any of the information contained in this press release or the report.

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