Chrysler this month began commercially selling its Ram 2500 compressed natural gas truck. Honda is offering a natural gas-powered Civic, and other manufacturers are working on natural gas vehicles.
Change takes time
To so dramatically change such a large industry takes time and many parts coming together at the same time, said Tod Hartje, head of market requirements for fleet operations at Chrysler Group.
“Creating a CNG market is like a puzzle,” Hartje said. “You have to get everything to work together. If you pull one lever, you could have a great infrastructure, but if there is no product and people don't want it, it won't happen.”
Chrysler and other manufacturers are working on the vehicles. Natural gas companies and retailers are working on fueling stations, and companies like General Electric are working on home fueling technology that would allow consumers to fill up their natural gas tanks in their own garages.
Both the refueling station and home refueling options are needed, Hartje said.
“Your vehicle needs to be able to handle your urban commute, but it also needs to take you to grandma's house and on vacation.”