Compressed Natural Gas powered cars first started in Italy. However, in order to generate a Compressed Natural Gas market for US cars, the panel was of the opinion that a number of factors must come together. We must be able to make the cars, construct CNG fueling stations, create some incentives and then convince consumers that there are benefits to converting. The conversion to CNG cars in Italy has taken hold and will continue in the future.
We can use Italy as a road map. With natural gas, there should be far less in emissions and lower fuel prices. CNG fueling stations are starting to pop up in California. Home based fueling stations are also becoming more widely available. We need to move CNG power away from a fleet play to more of a retail product for all consumers. Fleet purchases of CNG powered vehicles are increasing in those states where shale gas drilling is active.
CNG vehicles pass all of the same safety standards as gasoline powered vehicles. The cars and trucks very much look and perform the same. CNG is a way to deal with the new vehicle emission standards that will go into effect over the next decade.