The number of natural gas vehicles in use in Germany rose 40% during 2006, according to data from the German national transport office (KBA).

As of 1st January 2007 there were 54,772 natural gas vehicles in use, compared with 38,933 units a year earlier.

According to Automobilwoche the increase is due to four factors – cost saving, environmental-friendliness, the increase in available filling stations and the increased range of new models available with natural gas power.

According to one commentator, cost savings are around 50% compared with gasoline and 30% compared with diesel.

This has been achieved despite the fact that dealers are reportedly advising customers against environmentally friendly vehicles.

A study by MSU Consulting reported by Automobilowoche found that more than 90% of dealers advise against vehicles with alternative powertrains or fuels. Dealers said that environmental technologies would cost more and depreciate more quickly.

With regards to natural gas vehicles they said that the refueling infrastructure is not well enough developed.