EghtesadOnline: Data released on the production of vehicles have revealed that during the current Iranian year (started March 21), the rate of hybrid vehicles using compressed natural gas significantly declined in the first quarter year-on-year.
According to the Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade, domestic automakers produced 29,791 CNG hybrids and vans in the period, while last year's numbers stood at 39,823 units or a 25% drop.
This is while in the last Iranian year, total production had shown an average 6.3% decline YOY.
It has been over a decade since the introduction of CNG-fueled cars in the country. Nevertheless, the government's efforts to push ahead with plans to promote CNG as a clean alternative to other fuels seem to have failed, according to Financial Tribune.
Several factors have dissuaded people from using CNG-fueled vehicles.
Although CNG hybrid cars were purported to be used as a “cleaner substitute” to gasoline-powered vehicles, the models have not been able to even comply with local emissions standards.
Another critical issue putting hurdles in the way of CNG cars is the limited number of natural gas stations.
According to stats released by the National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company, after 10 years, there are only 2,380 compressed CNG stations across the country.
Considering Iran's 80 million population, there is only one CNG refueling station for every 33,235 people.
Although CNG has advantages like being cheaper and more eco-friendly, people are put off by the CNG-powered vehicle’s declining power. On average, CNG users experience a drop of about 10% in power. It also has a shorter driving range than gasoline.
If the government is serious about persuading people to use CNG hybrids, it will have to force the auto sector to meet global standards and also establish more CNG stations across the country.