US Department of Energy records show that there are only about 600 compressed natural gas (CNG) refueling stations in the US, but Volkswagen still wants to sell CNG-powered cars here, Automotive News reports. Before it commits to that, however, VW wants a more expansive refueling infrastructure and more incentives to sell the gas-powered cars, so the automaker is busy lobbying the US government to help out on those ends.

Jonathan Browning, CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, says that, due to CNG's roughly 20-percent reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions compared to gasoline and diesel engines, vehicles equipped with CNG-burning powerplants should be eligible for more credits under US fuel economy standards. He sums up the ingredients that, when combined in sufficient amounts, will get VW to start selling CNG vehicles here: "We're waiting for the signal that [CNG] is supported from a regulatory point of view and there's some degree of infrastructure available," according to Automotive News.

In Germany, there are about 900 CNG refueling stations, which is a relatively large amount when considering the country's small size compared to the US. But VW's product development head, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, says that he still struggles to find CNG stations there.

When/if more CNG refueling stations start popping up in the US, VW will be ready with factories retooled with the ability to produce the same car with different types of powertrains. That will include the automaker's Puebla, Mexico, plant, which will be able to build Golfs with CNG engines for US consumption if demand is high enough.


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  • 43 Comments
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      finally, a much better and significantly cheaper option to "clean" diesel.
      Georg
      • 1 Year Ago
      There is a huge mistake in the article... in Germany we have not 900 CNG fuel stations Currently we have 6500 CNG fuel stations open for public and 1200 CNG fuel station owned for company fleet refueling... if Neusser strugels to find CNG gas stations in Germany he should visit a docotr and get some glases... in my area nearly every petrol station offers CNG http://www.autogastanken.de/de/tanken/autogastankstellen-karte.html the map of CNG stations in Germany...
      Bob Cook
      • 1 Year Ago
      What about Methane leakage? Methane is about 25x more environmentally damaging than Carbon. Even with 0.5% leakage using Methane will be much more damaging to the environment.
        Matt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bob Cook
        Methane is released in large quantities by natural processes (decomposition, volcanic activities, farts); an occasional leak from a vehicles won't even be a drop in the bucket compared to what nature does already.
          CoolWaters
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          What a foolish comment. It's released in vastly more quantities by industrial processes, all thru the tracking, natural gas distribution chain. There's a reason to: 7.1 billion people.
          icemilkcoffee
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          Matt: There is a natural background rate of carbon emissions too, but that doesn\'t mean manmade carbon emissions is not a problem. Manmade emissions is what comes on top of the background, equilibrium rate. That is what is driving global warming after all.
        jtav2002
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Bob Cook
        And methane is already naturally occurring in the ground.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @jtav2002
          Methane is a renewable resource. It can be harvested from farms and waste streams, which is better than simply allowing that waste methane to be vented into the atmosphere.
      chest rockwell
      • 1 Year Ago
      The more I learn about CNG and fuel cell technology, the more I feel hydrid and pure electric are the way to go.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @chest rockwell
        Exactly. Better mpg all around and cheaper price. Less dangerous.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      bootsnchaps60
      • 1 Year Ago
      I drove fleet vehicles that were dual fuel with CNG. Refueling stations were very few and far between. Refueling the cars was a scary proposition.
      mitytitywhitey
      • 1 Year Ago
      I say lets have it, since I'm a diesel fan, but these huge denox systems are becoming a pain. CNG should be clean enough to convert a lot of torquers to without adding emissions equipment.
        mitytitywhitey
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        Plus the infrastructure is going to be there since nearly all heavy equipment and some heavy trucks will use it within this decade.
      Grendal
      • 1 Year Ago
      "so the automaker is busy lobbying the US government to help out on those ends." That means asking for Federal money. If this were an article about electric cars there would be about a hundred posts commenting on wasteful government spending. For CNG there is only one commenter who brings up the point.
      Justin
      • 1 Year Ago
      No to CNG. A fossil fuel is still a fossil fuel.
        Matt
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Justin
        There is no free lunch. -Electric car? Your electricity mostly comes from burning coal and natural gas, then there are major transmission losses to get that energy to your home. And the batteries are toxic. -Photovoltaic cells? Loaded with toxic rare earth metals -Wind power? Kills birds, noisy, composite manufacturing methods generate a lot of industrial waste -Hydro? Huge environmental impact from dams Methane is right underneath us and accessible with the technology available to us, and the distribution network is already in place. It produces fewer emissions per watt generated than possibly any other automotive powerplant technology (yes, even electric cars recharged by coal/NG power plants).
          Scooter
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          10,000,000 EVs compared to 10,000,000 gas cars? You do the math. Batteries can be recycled as well. I'd rather more plants come online than hundreds of thousands of more gas burning vehicles. Wind power has always been a gimmick. Who cares about hydro, and the Model S proves the EV can work, quite well as a matter of fact. Besides Tesla shows that it can even use solar to dump in power to its super chargers.
          Mike
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Matt
          Scooter apparently does not know how solar works and has yet to research what Germany is doing to store power generated from wind and solar. Hydrogen storage. Solar panels help, but it takes a grip of them to make enough power to fully charge a Tesla, much less a ton of time.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Justin
        Fracking will be done soon enough. These fracking drilling sites, aside from polluting ground water, dry up quickly. Fracking and CNG are DEAD Ends 10 years out. Only a fool would try to change to a CNG auto infrastructure, unless you what a lot of suckers bidding the price of CNG up as it goes into short supply.
      waetherman
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm not a huge fan of spending tax dollars to support CNG as an alternative to gasoline simply it's substituting one fossil fuel for another. But if easing regulations helps provide enough incentives for the private sector to step in and make some investments, that seems worth it from an energy-independence perspective. Even better if that infrastructure could also be used to distribute a renewable fuel, such as biogas.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think CNG will be great for fleets and big trucks but it just doesn't seem as practical for light-duty cars unless more filling stations are created. It is so much easier to just burn the NG at an efficient Combined-Cycle natural gas power plant and then set up a home EV charging system to charge up an EV.
        TIMMAH!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Well from what I've read the VW system is dual fuel. So you can run on CNG when you have it, but then it switches over to regular gasoline. I'd definitely buy one. It'd be refreshing to have a CNG vehicle that actually has some driving excitement and handling over the current solo choice of the Civic GX (the CVT and 10+ second 0-60 make it pretty ho-hum.)
      foxtrot685
      • 1 Year Ago
      Can you still refuel CNG vehicles at your home? I remember when Honda was backing this CNG technology with the 7th gen CNG Civic, there was this device called "PHILL" and it installed in your garage and you refueled your car at home! It was slow, it took hours instead of minutes to complete, but that would be super convenient. I would buy off on it just for that feature alone!
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