Chrysler Group LLC is supporting compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles as a viable near-term solution until it brings electric vehicles to the market in 2012, reports The Detroit News.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and Paolo Ferrero, a former Fiat executive now in charge of Chrysler Powertrain, have started promoting natural gas Chrysler vehicles in the U.S. and calling for government support in the form of tax incentives/credits for alternative fuels and subsidies for infrastructure.

"Today, natural gas is a rational alternative to gasoline that can provide a near-term environmental solution on the road to vehicle electrification," Marchionne said, noting the fuel has 25% fewer emissions and is 25% cheaper than gasoline. "It is the most effective solution, in terms of costs and timing, to lessen this country's reliance on oil," he said.

Chrysler has access to a full line of engines that can run on CNG through its partner Fiat SpA, said Ferrero, adding that these vehicles are ready to bring to the U.S. market.

Source: Chrysler Pushes Natural Gas Autos, The Detroit News