Promoting compressed natural gas vehicles for private use

Basic Information


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The introduction of vehicles running on compressed natural gas (CNG) contributes to reducing local and global emissions, as well as to achieving more independence from mineral oil, in accordance with EU policies on clean air and energy supply.

Implementing sustainable mobility

The CNG promotion campaign was implemented in response to the European Union target of achieving a 20 percent share of alternative fuels by 2020. In 2002, prior to the launch of the campaign, Bremen had two CNG fuelling stations. As an incentive for CNG, and to compensate for disadvantages in practical use (i.e. the shortage of fuelling stations), the energy provider swb and the energy agency Bremer Energie – Konsens offered an incentive of EUR 1,000 per new CNG private car, and EUR 2,500 per company car. An intensive campaign with special events and continuous public relations efforts improved awareness of CNG as an alternative clean fuel. All partners along the clean vehicles supply chain — car manufacturers, car dealers, energy providers, energy agencies, motor clubs and local politicians — were involved in a network supporting the policy. The campaign target was to introduce 250 new CNG vehicles within the project period.


The campaign was launched in 2003 and the incentive programme came to end in 2005, although the campaign is ongoing on a smaller scale. By 2010, there were four CNG fuelling stations in Bremen.

There were some technical problems during the implementation period, and some vehicles (7-ton CNG trucks) could not be delivered by the motor industry until February 2010.


By the end of the project period (October 2005), the local gas provider had received more than 300 applications within the incentive programme for purchasing CNG cars. A total of 297 applications were approved, 231 of which were from commercial users and 66 from private users. In order to encourage interest on the part of commercial users the incentive for companies was higher, as they usually have a higher inner-city mileage and tend to use conventional diesel cars. Higher emissions reductions were therefore achieved in the target group of corporate users. The fleet of CNG vehicles in Bremen showed a 23 percent reduction in CO2 emissions (compared to petrol); a 77 percent reduction in NOx emissions (compared to diesel); and a 99 percent reduction in PM10 emissions (compared to diesel).

Beneficiaries of the incentive scheme were obliged to place a reference to CNG and the CIVITAS project on both sides of the vehicle. Unfortunately, not everyone whose application was approved took advantage of the incentive. By the end of the project period about 70 percent of approved applicants had purchased a CNG car. In total, 160 vehicles were purchased. Some buyers had to wait to purchase their vehicle as several manufacturers were not able to deliver on time. Others decided to buy a different type of car. By 2010, there were about 600 CNG cars in Bremen.
The plan to support the purchase of four CNG freight vehicles could not be realised due to the non-availability of the vehicles on the market, even thought they were advertised in showrooms, at motorshows and on websites.

Monitoring of the promotional work showed an increased level of awareness: after 2.5 years, more than 25 percent of Bremen citizens knew about the campaign as well as the environmental and economic advantages of using CNG.


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