Natural gas in particular is a fuel with great potential. Natural gas is used as a fuel both in gaseous form (CNG, “Compressed Natural Gas”) and in liquid form (LNG, “Liquified Natural Gas”). Compared to gasoline, its combustion produces 10 to 20 percent less CO2. In addition, natural gas causes significantly lower nitrogen oxide and particle emissions. However, to date only a comparably small number of natural gas passenger cars have been on the road in Germany. At the end of 2019, around 82,000 vehicles were registered. However, the interest of car buyers has clearly decreased: 7,600 CNG passenger cars were newly registered in 2019, after almost 11,000 in the previous year.
The low fuel costs also speak in favour of natural gas. Until the end of 2023, a lower energy tax rate will apply. Measured in terms of energy content, only 1.39 cents per kilowatt hour will be charged. For diesel, this compares to around 4.8 cents. Due to the low tax rate and low fuel consumption, natural gas passenger cars are particularly economical to drive. With a compact natural gas car, 100 kilometres only cost around 5 euros. A comparable diesel car costs about 6.50 euros, a petrol car about 8.40 euros. The purchase price of modern CNG passenger cars is usually between petrol and diesel.
There are currently around 850 filling stations in Germany where natural gas is available. This means that there is by far a sufficient, almost nationwide network. There are over 3000 natural gas filling stations throughout Europe. As CNG passenger cars usually also have a small petrol tank, they can also be operated with petrol for short to medium distances in case of emergency.