Widespread adoption of cars which use natural gas instead of petrol for propulsion is to remain a distant dream in much of the West, according to a new report from Pike Research.

The analyst said last week that while the number of vehicles that use natural gas worldwide is set to surge in the next couple of years, it won't be household drivers fueling the boom, because of the lack of infrastructure.

"Many manufacturers and industry observers are looking forward to the time when consumer NGVs (natural gas vehicles) become the next big thing," says Pike's Dave Hurst.

"But the number of refueling stations remains too low for the consumer market to really take off in many parts of the developed world."

This means that the few Compressed Natural Gas vehicles on the road, such as the Honda Civic GX and the Volvo V70, will remain a rarity in the years to come, despite the rise in the overall number of natural gas vehicles from 1.9 million last year to 3.2 million in 2016.

The growth is expected to be particularly strong in the developing world, where traditional gasoline refining capacity is limited, said Pike, with India becoming the world leader in terms of natural gas vehicle sales by 2014.

While the growth in the West may remain limited, it is worth putting the final numbers in 2016 side by side with those for electric vehicles - an estimated 3.8 million EVs will be on the road by 2016, according to GTM Research.



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