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“We applauded him for what he did,” he said.

Before coming to the AGA in February, Mr. McCurdy spent four years as the president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and he said there’s a direct link between his old position and his new job. While some companies have begun to roll out fuel-efficient electric cars, he said the only way to achieve the Obama administration’s goal of 54.5 mpg vehicles by 2025 is to take advantage of natural gas and make infrastructure investments so drivers have a place to fill up.

“You can’t meet some of the fuel-economy requirements without” natural gas, he said. “It’s a must.”