Italy can be considered as being the first European NGV country. For the 70s, 80s and early 90s, it is possible to give an estimated overview of the Italian market growth, in terms of number of NGVs, based on the CNG sales trend. Thus the number of NGVs in circulation at that time can be calculated from the total volume of CNG sales (when assuming an average CNG consumption of 1,000 cubic metres per vehicle and year). An estimated annual gas consumption of 1000 cm3 for a NG vehicle is of course far lower than the assumed consumption for a modern ex-factory NG vehicle. The reason is simple: All Italian NGVs have been retrofit versions until originally manufactured NG vehicles were first available in the late 90s (retrofit vehicles had much smaller engines and where therefore consuming less natural gas). In addition to that, official recording of data collection on converted vehicles is not easily accessible.
Italy's major gas supplier and NGVA Europe member, ENI S.p.A., have been running statistics on annual sales of CNG for vehicles (in million cubic metres) and the number of operating CNG refuelling stations since 1973. This interesting graph shows perfectly what impact fiscal policy and OEM vehicle offers can have on NGV market growth in general.
For the years 2003-2008 we have the actual vehicle and filling station statistics for Italy:
year vehicles stns
2003 381250 460
2004 381250 500
2005 402300 529
2006 412550 588
2007 432900 609
2008 523100 700
For more information on European statistics please refer to: http://www.ngvaeurope.eu/european-ngv-statistics
Source: NGVA Europe