Sector: LPG

Gaseous fuels up in Germany

2017 was the first year for some time in Germany when there was a rise in the number of cars running on gaseous fuels registered. The spikes are quite significant in relative terms, although actual numbers fail to impress that much.
A car refueling with CNG at a fuel station in Germanyfot. erdgas mobilIch fahre mit erdgas means I drive with CNG. Apparently more and more German drivers want to be able to say this of themselves

Up, up and away!

According to the German Federal Road Transport Office (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt or KBA for short), more LPG- and CNG-powered cars were registered in 2017 than in 2016. Specifically, there were 3723 vehicles running on compressed natural gas (up by 14,9% year to year) and 4400 ones using autogas as fuel (up by 47,2%).

When up was upper

The direction is promising, but sales and registrations are still nowhere near their all-time bests. Back in 2008, high prices of conventional fuels drove high demand for cars using alternative fuels instead, as they were substantially cheaper to maintain. In that year over 14 thousand LPG-powered cars and an additional 12 thousand CNG-powered ones were sold. Unfortunately, in the following years demand plummeted by two thirds.

Why so?

The dip was the result of improving performance of German economy, fuel prices' becoming stable and eventually dropping, as well as – last, but not least – modest range of available LPG- and CNG-fueled cars. Furthermore, reports questioning the safety of gaseous fuel tanks installed on vehicles, often exaggerating the problem or utterly untrue, did their part in discouraging the public from buying more such cars.

Dieselgate helps LPG and CNG

However, when news of manipulating diesel-powered cars' emissions broke and the perspective of banning such vehicles from entering city centres followed, a number of manufacturers, in particular the Volkswagen Group, realised the time was ripe to bet on gas-powered engines once again. Volkswagen, Skoda and Seat brands took the opportunity to promote methane powertrain technology during the 2017 IAA fair in Frankfurt and offered their buyers substantial discounts on CNG-powered models if an old diesel is scrapped in return. Seat is betting heavily on CNG models, believing methane-powered cars could be the key to the brand's commercial success and return to profitability. Skoda has similar views:

The outlook for natural-gas-based mobility is very good nowadays and I expect the number of CNG-powered cars in Germany to expand tenfold, to one million units by the year 2025.

Frank Jurgens, managing director, Skoda Auto Deutschland

Heading for a million

The LPG autogas market is also making up for the losses sustained in recent years. After the 500-thousandth car running on that fuel was registered in 2012, the market shrank by several tens of thousands, but a significant spike in demand has been seen recently. We hope the trend continues in 2018 and beyond.


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Piotr Złoty
source: kfz-betrieb, erdgas mobil 2012-2018 All rights reserved. By using this site you acknowledge that you accept its Terms and Conditions