Fiat , which holds a 25 percent stake in Chrysler , is the market leader in Europe for engines using compressed natural gas, or CNG . It has an 80 percent share of CNG -powered cars and 55 percent of light commercial vehicles. Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of both automakers, has said natural-gas engines are an attractive way to cut emissions because they’re cheaper than competing technologies.
“If that becomes the new in-thing for alternative fuel going forward, we’re going to be miles ahead of the competition,” Diaz said. The US became the world’s largest producer of natural gas in 2009.
A lack of fueling stations in the US limits the market to fleet vehicles in the near term, Phil Gott, an IHS Automotive analyst in Lexington, Massachusetts, said last month.
The U.S. ranks 14th globally in sales of natural gas vehicles and Italy is sixth, according to the International Association for Natural Gas Vehicles. Pakistan ranks first, with 2.3m vehicles and 3,068 fueling stations.
Honda markets a CNG version of its mainstream Civic in the US and sells a home refueller called Phill, enabling owners to refuel from domestic gas supply.