Alternative energy vehicles on the rise
High gasoline prices are having a heavy impact on drivers and the auto industries across the United States. In order to combat these prices consumers and dealers are turning their attentions toward alternative energy vehicles. While electric hybrids have taken the center stage, companies are beginning to introduce natural gas-powered vehicles.
In September, Chrysler Group LLC allowed all dealers to order the Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG pickup. According to Peter Grady, Vice President of network development and fleet, dealers have been clamoring for compressed natural gas vehicles, particularly in the natural gas states.
According to Grady, "The electric technology just isn't advanced, it's not there, and there's so much innovation that's required to make it viable." Because compressed natural gas is readily available and the engines are cheaper than plug in hybrids, Chrysler is seeing interest beyond buyers in the natural gas industry. Some potential fleet and commercial buyers include waste and transit companies as well as airport shuttles.
AT&T is already running 7% of its 70,000 service vans on compressed natural gas and hopes to increase that number in the near future. But, for CNG vehicles to become more viable more CNG fueling stations need to be built. AT&T operates 316 vehicles in the Dallas, Texas area with only 4 fueling stations to go to.