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Light-Duty Natural Gas Vehicles ‘Will Reach 25 Million in 2019’ – But North America Won’t Lead

Sales of light-duty natural gas vehicles including passenger cars, light-duty trucks and commercial vehicles will reach 3.2 million vehicles in 2019, with 25.4 million such vehicles on the road in that year, Pike Research forecasts. This represents a compound average annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.2 percent between 2012 and 2019.

In its report, Pike Research says light-duty vehicles make up about 97 percent of the total natural gas vehicle market, or 2.08 million out of 2.15 million vehicles, as of 2012. The report identifies four main growth drivers: economic benefits, environmental benefits, availability of fuel and vehicles, and energy security.

While North America is experiencing 10 percent CAGR, Pike Research says that because the market is small, it doesn’t expect growth to lead the continent to a dominant market spot by 2019. This market largely consists of fleet purchases, not individual consumers.

The largest market for natural gas vehicles is the Asia Pacific region, Pike Research says, because of growing refueling networks there. The strongest markets in this region will be Thailand (24 percent CAGR), India (23 percent) and China (20 percent), according to the report. Pakistan also has a large natural gas fleet, but it’s a volatile market, and smaller markets like Uzbekistan and Armenia will likely face market saturation by mid-decade, it says.

Analysts expect a two percent CAGR between 2012 and 2019 for the Middle East and Africa regions, because of volatility in the Iranian market. Egypt has a relatively strong light-duty vehicle market due to its taxi fleets, according to Pike Research.

The Latin American market will continue to grow. The report says Argentina and Brazil are two of the largest natural gas vehicle markets in the world — 25 percent of total natural gas vehicles globally. The other markets in this region have combines sales of less than 100,000 vehicles in 2012, but Pike Research forecasts about 10 percent CAGR each in Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, and Venezuela over the next several years.

Europe’s largest light-duty natural gas vehicle market is Italy, where 2012 sales will reach 159,046 vehicles, Pike Research says. It’s followed by Ukraine, where analysts expect sales to reach 151,487 this year. Both countries will see slowed growth over the next few years, while Germany and Sweden — comparatively small markets today — will have steady growth, the report says.

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