May 17, 2013—Despite launching the 2014 Fiat 500e electric car, when it comes to alternative-powered vehicles, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is publicly expressing his preference for natural gas.

In fact, the CEO spoke out at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2013 World Congress , telling attendees that “embracing electric vehicles on a large scale” as the only alternative fuel solution would be “masochism in the extreme”, while referencing the fact that the company is “losing $10,000 on every Fiat 500e sold”.

Marchionne also sited natural gas as the “cleanest alternative available” and urged governments to remain “technology neutral” when it comes to alternative vehicle power sources.

Sharing a similar sentiment is Fiat General Manager Stefano Re Fiorentin, who pointed out to one news source that a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicle only costs about $ 4,000 more than a conventional gas powered vehicle, whereas electric models can come with a cost increase of roughly $21,000.

In addition to purchase feasibility and eco-friendliness, CNG vehicles are also gaining popularity due to their ongoing economic value (natural gas costs, on average, one-third less than conventional gasoline at the pump) and their positive effect on the economy (97% of the natural gas used in the U.S. is produced in North America and every CNG station creates 45 new jobs within a 5-mile radius).

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