The number of natural gas vehicles on the road globally will grow to 17 million vehicles by 2015, up from 9.7 million in 2008, according to a new report from Pike Research.
The report, Natural Gas Vehicles, forecasts that the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for U.S. NGV sales will be 17.7 percent between 2008 and 2015, which translates into 31,347 vehicles (including conversions) sold in 2015. The global NGV market will grow at a CAGR of 5.5 percent to reach just over 3 million vehicles (including conversions) by 2015.
Although there has been technology advances and readily available natural gas, NGVs are still not widely accepted as a transportation fuel in many parts of the world, according to the report.
Slow adoption has been attributed to a lack of refueling station infrastructure in many countries. The study indicates that refueling stations can be expensive to install, and as a result, owners are often large fleets, government agencies, or gas companies that have a vested interest in selling the gas. In addition, growth of refueling infrastructure is primarily driven by government incentives within the marketplace, which often provide grants or tax incentives for installing a refueling station, which helps generate demand for the vehicles, say researchers.
Other drivers for NGV adoption include economics — the fuel has to be cheaper than gasoline/diesel — and environmental benefits that deliver substantially lower greenhouse gas, CO2 and NOx emissions, according to the study. In addition, the fuel, vehicles, and repair technicians have to be readily available, and the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel is for the purpose of reducing the usage of imported crude oil or imported refined gasoline, according to the study.
The study reveals the top five markets for NGVs are currently Pakistan, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, and India. However, the report finds that over the next five years, Canada, India, and the United States will be the fastest growing markets. In the U.S., the growth will be driven by greater adoption of NGVs by government and corporate fleets, according to the study.