WASHINGTON -- Mercedes-Benz says it is thinking of selling a vehicle fueled by natural gas in the United States.
Mercedes, part of Daimler AG, plans to display a B-class model that can run on compressed natural gas this week at the Washington Auto Show.
William Craven, general manager of regulatory affairs for Daimlers Washington office, confirmed the companys interest in testing the market for natural-gas-powered vehicles in the United States.
At a green-car conference before the Washington show, Craven and other industry leaders said many options to gasoline-powered vehicles exist, and all need to be used.
Most conference participants argued against government choosing a single solution to the problems of overreliance on petroleum and the automobiles role in the threat of climate change.
Johan de Nysschen, executive vice president of Audi of America Inc., warned that government pressure on the Detroit 3 to concentrate on plug-in hybrids could be the death knell for the struggling companies. He warned that the companies could end up trying to sell vehicles that dont make economic sense.
Natural gas once was considered a promising alternative fuel but has fallen out of favor in the light-duty segment.
Honda still sells the Civic GX, which uses compressed natural gas.
Richard Kolodziej, president of Natural Gas Vehicles for America, said the United States will miss a big opportunity if it fails to use its ample supplies of natural gas, which he said is climate-friendly, clean-burning and economical. Kolodziejs group promotes the use of natural gas and hydrogen in cars and trucks.
Craven told Automotive News that Mercedes-Benz sells a version of the B class in Europe that can run on gasoline or compressed natural gas.
He added: Were testing the market here.