The Projected Growth of Natural Gas Vehicles

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Automotive Natural Gas Vehicle Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Fuel Type (CNG, LNG), By Vehicle Type (Passenger, Light-duty & Heavy-duty Buses & Trucks), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2021 - 2028

Report Overview

The global automotive natural gas vehicle market demand was valued at 29,793.76 thousand units in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.3% from 2021 to 2028. Natural gas is gaining popularity across the world as an alternative fuel owing to easy availability, lower vehicular emissions, and lower costs compared to conventional fuels, such as gasoline and diesel. The growing need for alternative fuel solutions in the transportation sector is encouraging the players in the transportation industry to adopt Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) trucks to run their operations. Subsequently, the demand for LNG vehicles is increasing in the transportation industry. Moreover, the growing government initiatives for the development of natural gas distribution infrastructure are expected to boost the demand for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) over the forecasted period.

U.S. automotive NGV market demand, by fuel type, 2016 - 2028 (Thousand Units)

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The unstable and disruptive pricing structure associated with gasoline and diesel is one of the prominent factors driving the adoption of NGVs. The oil & gas industry is witnessing economic instabilities on account of various factors, such as the fluctuation in the strength of the U.S. dollar, changing demand and supply of oil, and the growth of energy-intensive sectors, such as transportation, electricity, and manufacturing. These factors are expected to lead to the volatility of crude oil prices. Therefore, the automotive NGV industry is anticipated to grow considerably over the forecast period. The rise in the extraction of shale gas across the U.S. has increased the supply of natural gas. This significant increment can be attributed to the rapid growth of unconventional gas sources and shales since 2008, coupled with evolving advanced drilling technologies, such as fracking. As a result, natural gas prices have decreased since 2008 for both commercial and residential consumers.

Government regulations pertaining to environmental protection and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions worldwide are becoming more stringent. As a result, there is a rise in the adoption of natural gas for different applications across various industries. Throughout the world, government agencies and authorities are undertaking numerous measures to protect the environment and are rolling out multiple programs and initiatives. For instance, Natural Gas STAR Program and Methane Challenge Program by the Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.), the European Green Vehicles Initiative (EGVI), National Green Tribunal (India), National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017–2050, and the Sustainable and Livable Cities Initiative (SLCI) of China, India, and Brazil are encouraging the adoption of alternative fuels, such as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and LNG, in the automotive sector.  

However, the economy worldwide has experienced a massive setback due to the COVID-19 pandemic, negatively impacting automotive production. The pandemic is expected to hamper the market growth to some extent as it is creating political, economic, and social disruptions in significant industries. The aftermath of the pandemic has resulted in supply chain disruptions, with several production facilities coming to a halt. The outbreak has negatively affected the sales of passenger and commercial automobiles, subsequently impacting the demand for NGVs in the automotive sector. According to the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), in Europe, 5.1 million passenger cars were registered in the first half of 2020, which is 39% less compared to 2019. Moreover, the sales of passenger cars in the U.S. reduced by around 26% in 2020 compared to the previous year. Furthermore, China experienced a drop of 80% in its auto sales in February 2020.

Fuel Type Insights

The CNG segment accounted for the largest volume share of over 95% in 2020 and will expand further at a steady CAGR from 2021 to 2028. The growth of the CNG segment can be attributed to the increasing number of government initiatives to curb the increasing vehicular emissions and environmental security. The nontoxic nature of CNG leads to lower environmental damage. Moreover, CNG fuel systems are designed to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 303 and 304 (U.S.), which ensure the specific requirements for fuel systems' integrity using CNG fuel systems of dedicated CNG and dual-fuel CNG automobiles.

The LNG segment is projected to register the fastest CAGR from 2021 to 2028. The segment is majorly incentivized by government policy support, diesel-LNG price differential, and developing logistics industry driven by more robust economic growth. The road transportation industry is the key contributor to LNG adoption. In terms of LNG vehicles, the adoption of LNG Heavy-Duty Trucks (HDT) is higher. LNG has growth potential as a fuel for automotive, considering the research & development activities across various countries.

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