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.