Good news for CNG powered taxis at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, they can now cut to the front of the line. The DFW board approved a program too allow CNG powered taxis to skip to the front, ahead of gasoline powered cabs. Individual cab drivers opposed the new policy fearing they would be driven out of business. They also insist that it will be tougher for them compared to larger cab companies, which can make CNG investments. Previously, a similar measure in 2009 was stopped with legal issues brought on by a group of taxi drivers. David Magana, an airport representative , said that since 2000 the DFW Airport has followed a clean air rule, and that over 600 CNG vehicles are in its fleet. The start date for the new policy has not been set yet.
Chrysler Group LLC is preparing to sell compressed natural gas powered fleet pickups later this year in the United States. Chrysler’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, said that there is no doubt they will be selling CNG pickups, but on a limited basis initially. Chrysler is controlled by Fiat SpA who now has CNG operating engines in Europe, and promises to begin delivery of similar engines to the US by 2017. Marchionne’s said thay natural gas engines are a better option compared to electric technologies, and the additional engine cost is much less for CNG.
In the United States large CNG powered vehicles , like buses and garbage trucks, continue to grow, but cars are not catching on as quickly. The Honda Civic NG is still the only natural gas car that is commercially produced. Natural gas stations are still limited to certain areas, but more and more are popping up each day. There is an estimated 12.7 million vehicles powered by natural gas in the world, and only 112,000 in the US. The US has lots of natural gas available with records supplies, so it makes sense to switch more vehicles to CNG and reduce the dependency on foreign oil. But the higher sticker price and cost to convert to CNG seems to be holding people back.
CNG vehicles are also gaining momentum outside the US. Tata motors in India has revealed the CNG powered Tata Nano, and the compressed natural gas MAGIC IRIS CNG at the Auto Expo 2012. Tata said the Nano exhibits the company’s ability to produce all kinds of automobiles powered by CNG. The Nano includes smart switching between CNG and gasoline, and includes safety software with automatic shut off. The Tata Magic Iris is an eco-friendly van with a 611 cc water cooled CNG engine with 12.8 HP. The Magic can seat up to 5 passengers.