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Will compressed natural gas soon be a widely used automotive fuel in the U.S.? Probably not, but it could become more common if Fiat's European moves are any indication. CNG is a popular alternative in some parts of Europe and several automakers, including Fiat, offer factory-equipped cars that run on methane. Fiat already offers CNG versions of the Grande Punto, Panda, Punto, as well as the Multipla and Doblò. The Punto and Panda are both expected to form the basis of new small cars for Chrysler in the coming years, assuming all goes according to plan in bankruptcy court.

Compressed natural gas offers several advantages over gasoline and diesel, including lower CO2 emissions and virtually no particulates. Currently, only Honda offers a factory CNG vehicle in the U.S. with the Civic GX; numerous companies offer after-market conversions mainly for commercial vehicles. Perhaps a Fiat-controlled Chrysler will offer commercial CNG versions of the mini-vans.


[Source: Auto Channel]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      harlanx6
      • 6 Years Ago
      Not without certain drawbacks, CNG could be a helpful interim solution in our war to boycott foreign oil, plus it is much cleaner than either gasoline or diesel. Add to that the huge domestic reserves, and an almost universal supply network already in place, and it's economic advantage, it's a no brainer. We should be moving on this. Most of us could have a home filling station. It could be used with a plug in hybrid system so much of our routine running could be done with electricity alone, and the C4 could just be used for range extension. Who could be against it? Simply foreign oil interests, their bought paid for politicians and lobbyists and all those getting rich off our addiction to oil.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't forget the US's potential to make biogas. Using clover and other cover crops to make biogas would help reduce the need for industrial nitrogen fertilizer, and digesters fit very well with livestock farming, the heat from the biogas plant can be used to keep the animals warm or farm fish.
      • 6 Years Ago
      CNG runs well dual fueled in a diesel engine, and you can dump a little or a lot of hydrogen into it to as well (if thats your thing, no you can't make in onboard unless you find the king of the potato people)

      • 6 Years Ago
      What a crappy article. Looking at what Fiat sells in some European markets and than making up a guess that they might bring that over to the US...
      Completely ignoring ll the other technologies FIAT has to offer, like some of the best diesel engines in the world or that new technology they introduced a few months ago, that make gas powered cars 20% more efficient and 20% more powerful at the same time.. a technology they are going to offer in the next few months in one of their brands ALFA ROMEO.
      harlanx6
      • 6 Years Ago
      We can't just pass an edict and get to where we want to go from here in one year, or even one decade. We are going to have to use incremental interim solutions, and keep moving in the direction we want to go. There are technologies we are not using that are cleaner that the status quo, but it is going to be an evolutionary process, not a revolutionary one. CNG makes sense, as do several other technologies. Used in concert with PHEV technologies it could make a huge difference. EVs are very popular, but most people don't realize where their electricity comes from. Because of our mindless aversion to the power of the atom, we are stuck with coal and NG fired power plants, so even driving an EV would still be using fossil fuels. Carbon capture and recycling is possible and those technologies need to be developed as quickly as possible. I submit that CNG is not a dangerous diversion, but a logical step in the direction we need to go.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      CNG-powered vehicles also have low range.

      Honda Civic GX (CNG) has a sub-200 mile range, and still emits more CO2 than the cheaper Civic Hybrid.
      • 6 Years Ago
      CNG vehicles are a very dangerous diversion. Are they "much cleaner" than gasoline engines, as we hear endlessly online? Yes, especially in things like particulate matter emissions. But for "the big one", CO2, they're only about 25% better than a non-hybrid vehicle of the same general size and power. That's not nearly enough of an improvement considering how desperately we need to cut CO2 emissions and how long it will take and at what expense to convert any significant portion of the US (or world) vehicle fleet to CNG.

      (And by "convert" I mean almost exclusively replacing old gasoline vehicles with new CNG models. I'm not talking about spending a few thousand dollars to convert each vehicle.)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow, I hope they don't plan on using that as their big strategy for more fuel efficient cars in America. Americans don't give up the space in their car easily at all. It's our "god given right" to have all that space LOL

      Seriously, I've seen CNG work all over the world, but it's almost "offensive" if you try to get an average American consumer to give up part of their trunk space for the tank.

      Good luck with that Fiat/Chrysler.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I just looked at the cars available on Fiat's UK website and am frankly unimpressed. I can only use the work odd or skimpy to refer to most of them. They so not connate the usual image of a european car ie: modern, clean, intelligent, strong. I think even our Asian companies here in the US already have better looking cars than Fiats except for the Fiat 500. The 500 could be a hit, but I suspect Chrysler will have to design cars just for america using Fiat engines plus their own. The scary thing is how poorly Chrysler has executed the concepts. I'm beginning to think that the problem with the US auto industry is that it is based in Michigan. They are very conservative about protecting their way of live and entitlement to keep producing american cars. All of the decisions come out of there and they are too conservative.

      I am glad we are seeing a new way of American car company in Tesla and Fisker. I hope they can survive and I wish all that effort and money could go to them instead of GM and Chrysler.
      • 5 Years Ago
      We should offer tax breaks for those who convert to natural gas or propane. This is the way to go right now.Especially for larger vehicles. Pickups , vans, and minivans have plenty of extra room for natural gas or propane tanks. Man made global warming is a hoax anyway. We can also convert oil and coal fueled power plants to natural gas. We can then run electric cars off of it.