Will compressed natural gas soon be a widely used automotive fuel in the U.S.? Probably not, but it could become more common if Fiat's European moves are any indication. CNG is a popular alternative in some parts of Europe and several automakers, including Fiat, offer factory-equipped cars that run on methane. Fiat already offers CNG versions of the Grande Punto, Panda, Punto, as well as the Multipla and Doblò. The Punto and Panda are both expected to form the basis of new small cars for Chrysler in the coming years, assuming all goes according to plan in bankruptcy court.

Compressed natural gas offers several advantages over gasoline and diesel, including lower CO2 emissions and virtually no particulates. Currently, only Honda offers a factory CNG vehicle in the U.S. with the Civic GX; numerous companies offer after-market conversions mainly for commercial vehicles. Perhaps a Fiat-controlled Chrysler will offer commercial CNG versions of the mini-vans.

Related Gallery2007 Honda Civic GX

[Source: Auto Channel]