Sales of natural gas-powered cars in Germany have increased in the first five months of the year, against the trend of the market overall.

According to data from the German road vehicle office, Kraftfahr-Bundesamt (KBA), 4,800 natural gas cars were registered between January and May 2007, reported Automobilwoche. This was 19% up year on year.

But there is evidence that the trend towards compresses natural gas (CNG) is accelerating. In May new registrations were up 84%, from 574 new registrations a year ago to 1,047 units this year.

There are around 60,000 CNG vehicles on the road in Germany. Automobilwoche noted that this was below expectations 10 years ago, when a forecasts said there would be 100,000 natural gas cars on the road.

Volkswagen led the CNG market with 1,998 cars sold in the first five months of the year followed by Opel (1,658) and Fiat (6,140). Other makes sold less than 110 to date.