CNG Would End US Reliance on Foreign Oil, Says Sergio Marchionne

While Chrysler has a few plug-in vehicle experiments ongoing, it is not particularly known to be strong in the electrified sector, and now its CEO has come out in favor of CNG as an effective end for America’s reliance on foreign oil.

Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that it is “most shocking” that the U.S. auto industry is not throwing its might behind natural gas, which has been found in abundance in the United States.

“A rapid adoption of CNG as a fuel source for automotive applications would almost instantly kill the reliance on foreign oil, and it would bring about a substantial reduction in emissions,” said Marchionne. “Those are opportunities that need to be grabbed and they need to be industrialized. Especially with large vehicles like pickups and large SUVs, we could probably accommodate the installation of CNG tanks within the next 24 to 36 months.”

As we see also, on Monday Chrysler’s Ram brand has just launched a bi-fuel, CNG-capable light-duty production truck.

Marchionne gave his views of CNG on the sidelines of an industry convention in Shanghai, China, over the weekend, but for the most part it was not reported. Instead reporters chased down answers to politicized questions as to whether Jeep production would be outsourced to China.

Concerns by reporters focused on whether production priorities would cost jobs in the U.S., or Italy. Both of which Marchionne answered for the umpteenth time with a no.

Poor reporting by unscrupulous bloggers has been partially blamed for the rumor that Jeep production would be outsourced from Toledo, Ohio, to China. Actually an original story on Oct. 22 by Bloomberg had the facts straight, but others overstated the purported sell-out to the Chinese story to the point that even Mitt Romney got it wrong.

This in turn was a setback for Romney as he used the incorrect info in an Ohio ad to strike at Obama for selling Chrysler to the Italians who planned to move Jeep production to China. That miscue led to him being quickly censured in the media, including by Bill Clinton who has been quoted as saying Romney’s assertion is “the biggest load of bull in the world.”

But while reporters were chasing the seeds of that false Jeep-to-China report with Marchionne in Shanghai, they missed a true story on his considered views on how to cure U.S. dependence on foreign oil and to curb global warming.

And while he is at it, Marchionne says he doesn’t think ethanol has much future in the U.S. He said alcohol works as a fuel for Brazil where, “from a global standpoint, producing ethanol probably is the most efficient use of their sugarcane.” It was tried in Africa, and it failed. And, said Marchionne, he is “making no comments on the U.S. side of ethanol production which relies on grains.” We take it, Sergio doesn’t think it’s a good idea.

Asked to explain the cause for why alternative fuels aren’t adopted in wholesale fashion the world over, Marchionne started to say “the dominance of oil …” Then he checked himself, took a big breath, and said “I am not pointing fingers on big oil being responsible for anything.”

Instead, he continued on more benignly, saying the existence of oil production as a big business with established refinery capacity in most developed countries is a force to be reckoned with.


  • Volume Van

    Very True. CNG can end the reliance on foreign oil.

    There are 16.4 million CNG powered vehicles worldwide (25 million estimated).

    Also there are 22 million LPG powered vehicles and 27 million Ethanol powered vehicles.

    We have to get into some type of alternative fueled vehicle.

    Natgas could be the bridge to Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Vehicles.

  • Shines

    The other nice thing about CNG is that there is a huge infrastructure available. Many of us have Natural gas in our homes. There are “compressors” available so that we could fill our vehicle from home. And the other article about the RAM 2500 CNG shows it has a range of 900+ miles with its gasoline backup. I hope we see more CNG cars.

  • otter

    I would love to see more CNG vehicles.

  • MrEnergyCzar

    When the short lived fracking bubble pops, I’d rather have an electric powered vehicle than CNG. Remember, fracking gas wells peak very fast and need higher than today’s prices to be sustained, that’s why the rig counts are dropping….

    MrEnergyCzar

  • Volume Van

    Mr Energy Czar

    Yes the fracking wells have 30% depletion rate, so in 3 years, their output drops 90%. The same is the case for shale oil wells as well.

    Right now we are looking for all types of alternative fuels like CNG, LNG, LPG, Ethanol, Electricity to reduce oil consumption.

    Natgas supplies are more widely available than oil and that’s why more CNG powered vehicles are hitting the road, while the LNG powered trains & ships are also coming in.

  • John K.

    Key paragraph:
    “A rapid adoption of CNG as a fuel source for automotive applications would almost instantly kill the reliance on foreign oil, and it would bring about a substantial reduction in emissions,” said Marchionne. “Those are opportunities that need to be grabbed and they need to be industrialized. Especially with large vehicles like pickups and large SUVs, we could probably accommodate the installation of CNG tanks within the next 24 to 36 months.”

    Thank heaven for American NG! It provides progress on the emissions front and energy independence while battery tech matures.

    No need for hydrogen fuel cells or wasting billions of dollars building a national hydrogen infrastructure we don’t need when we already have in place and a century of experience with our national natural gas infrastructure.

    Once battery tech matures, we switch to our national electric infrastructure (aka the grid), and/or our “home” grids powered by then affordable PVs!

    As I’ve been saying around here for at least a couple of years now, CNG-battery hybrids give us the biggest bang for the buck for the next 5 to 10 years.

  • bret

    Cng for heavy trucks and pick-ups+ plug in for cars are definately the solution for our addiction to foreign oil ! Why the Natural gas industry take so much tiime to install CNG staions all across the country when the NG is abundant and the price so low ?