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View Full Version : Safety - Knowledge based not Governement ruled



joe_kan
09-29-2011, 10:17 AM
MODERATOR NOTE: This thread was started from the following thread (link below):

http://cngchat.com/forum/showthread.php?3966-Non-NFPA-52-conforming-pictures

Please continue to post non-NFPA-52 conforming pictures to the thread above and refer comments regarding safety - Knowledge vs. Government here. Thanks to joe_kan for starting this great discussion.

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I think most of us can agree that good design/installation/safety practices are not always used and the less one knows about a technology the more likely they are to use poor design/installation/safety practices. It may be entertaining to engage in "identifying the violations" but what are you doing to make good installations cost effective for folks? Let's face it - people are doing this stuff because it is costly to convert a vehicle, fuel at home (if at all possible in some locations), and safely maintain a CNG vehicle.

SO - LET'S HAVE IT! Put your price list out there showing folks that you are offering a quality NGV retrofit, VRA, or NGV maintenance facility at a price point that makes sense for folks to move to NGVs. Or are you just relying on some government subsidy that is artificially making it possible? Not going to last forever - look what happened in Arizona a while back!

CNG Retrofit (U.S.): $5000.00 - $10,000
Home Fueling Appliance (qualified as appliance): $10,000 + $0.50/gge (maintenance) + $1,000 (installation)
Extra Vehicle maintenance: $500.00/yr (average)

I don't care what formula you are using one can buy a hell of a lot of gasoline for $20,000.00.

Regarding the regulatory part I have a very good case example. Back in the seventies Pennsylvania required vehicle inspections every six months. Without this inspection you could not drive on the road (at least not without getting a ticket). These inspections could only be done by mechanics that were licensed by the State. Years later the Pennsylvania law was changed (guess they had a conservative governer that year) to require these inspections yearly instead of every six months. Mechanics would engage in this same "identify the violation" pratice - it was a cash cow for them! Looking back at the highway safety records for Pennsylvania this change from every six months to a year for the vehicle inspections did not result in any difference in the accident/injury or fatality rate on Pennslyvania Roads. The only result was that Licensed State Inspection Stations were making less money. I believe in what the data tells me not what some bureaucrat codifies into law.

Go ahead make fun of the boneheads trying to save money out there - But when the government subsidies are gone can this industry stand on its own? If the designs are cost effective and the government backs off some of the unnecessary regulation maybe. If not - poof.

As always - just my opinion here.

CNG MOTORS
09-29-2011, 12:26 PM
Joe, don't get me wrong I agree with you that we are over regulated and not just with CNG but most other aspects of our lives. But these installs pictured here are just down right dangerous. What happens when someone uses copper tubing or brake tubing for lines. This has happened in Utah where the guy almost killed his kids waiting in the car. Or what happens when an improperly secured tanks breaks lose and snaps the valve and turns the tank into a missile. This too has happened here in Phoenix at a Ford dealership.

There is no excuse for not using the proper equipment
-Non expired used CNG tank $100-$1000
-Used CNG tank brackets $50-$75 or $150-$350 new
-Good injected kits for about $1200 (NEW)
-High pressure stainless $75 for 21 feet stick

Now the guy that almost killed his kids I truly believe it was due to a lack of or mis-information. I don't think he would knowingly put his family in danger. So it goes back to education. You and I may see this as entertainment value, but the people that performed these conversions probably thought their installs were perfectly fine. So if nothing else the pics serve the purpose of what not to do. I still find some of these funny, but God forbid if there are kids in some of these cars, that's just down right scary.

I have been doing this since 2000. And as far as standing on it's own as an industry, I see one overwhelming reason the industry will fail or strive. This industry only runs well because of the spread between NG cost and Gasoline costs. If those two were ever to close up on each other, then we would have no business. IMO this is why LPG and E85 is pretty much dead. When running on LPG your vehicle is less efficient and in most cases there is no savings per gallon and in a lot of places propane is more expensive than gasoline. And E85 we all know you lose several MPG's over gasoline but in most cases your cost per mile on gasoline is still less than running on E85. Most people fall in love with the E85 price per gallon posted without really doing the math behind. I think once people found out it was costing them more to commute on E85 they switched back. There are very few people out there who are willing to do the environmental thing and pay more while doing it. Most of us like myself are in it for the cost savings. And if I'm not saving I'm not doing it. Having said that savings a few G's is not worth my life or the life of my family.

When gasoline prices are high I do well when gasoline prices are low (regardless of the spread) no so much. So I say CNG for now but I'm ready to leave it if my books dictate it and come back to it when it makes sense.

Highmarker
09-29-2011, 12:38 PM
joe_kan, your opinion is always welcome. The first post on this thread (I wrote it) says that this thread is meant to show NGV owners what not to do (i.e. educate them). One of the biggest complaints on here is the cost for education (cost for specification documents like NFPA-52 and cost for training courses). At least this thread is showing real life examples of NGV installations. Of course we could have a thread for "good" installations that conform to NFPA, but then everyone would be posting pictures of their Honda Civic GX, F150 or Cavalier (OEM installations). I do not intend for this thread to "make fun of the boneheads". It is meant to educate people on how serious of matter correct installations and having safe tanks as well. Just ask Diane Mancuso (she is the wife of Bob Mancuso - the only person to die in the US as a direct result of a CNG tank failure on May 26, 2007 in Carson, CA.)

joe_kan
09-29-2011, 02:33 PM
joe_kan, your opinion is always welcome. The first post on this thread (I wrote it) says that this thread is meant to show NGV owners what not to do (i.e. educate them). One of the biggest complaints on here is the cost for education (cost for specification documents like NFPA-52 and cost for training courses). At least this thread is showing real life examples of NGV installations. Of course we could have a thread for "good" installations that conform to NFPA, but then everyone would be posting pictures of their Honda Civic GX, F150 or Cavalier (OEM installations). I do not intend for this thread to "make fun of the boneheads". It is meant to educate people on how serious of matter correct installations and having safe tanks as well. Just ask Diane Mancuso (she is the wife of Bob Mancuso - the only person to die in the US as a direct result of a CNG tank failure on May 26, 2007 in Carson, CA.)

From the NFPA:

329,500 vehicle fires, 565 civilian deaths, 1,825 civilian injuries were reported in 2002.
Public fire departments responded to 329,500 vehicle fires in the United States during
2002. These fires caused 565 civilian deaths, 1,825 civilian injuries and $1,392,000,000
in direct property damage. (See Table 1.) Vehicle fires accounted for 20% of the
1,687,500 fires reported to U.S. fire departments that year. In that same year, vehicle
fires caused 17% of all civilian fire deaths, 10% of all civilian fire injuries and 13% of the
nation’s property loss to fire. More people died from vehicle fires than from apartment
fires, and vehicle fires caused seven times the number of deaths caused by non-residential
structure fires.

The data really speaks for itself - In my simple mind the government should be more worried about gasoline/diesel fuel tanks as opposed to CNG fuel tanks.

I think we are all in agreement on good design, good installation, and good safety practices (all of this requires knowledge/education). I think where I disagree with some is the idea that government can leglislate safety effectively - if they could don't you think they would concentrate on the much bigger safety issues - see above.

Highmarker
09-29-2011, 05:14 PM
I think we are all in agreement on good design, good installation, and good safety practices (all of this requires knowledge/education). I think where I disagree with some is the idea that government can leglislate safety effectively - if they could don't you think they would concentrate on the much bigger safety issues

I agree with you. All we can do is look out for ourselves. We can not "force" safety on to people. Someone will always do it themselves in their backyard. When I see a non-OEM NGV pull up to the fueling station, I am out of there as fast as cockroaches are when you turn on the light. Don't get me wrong....I am not saying that all OEM NGVs are safe and all non-OEM NGVs are dangerous. I have seen my fair share of damaged tanks on OEM vehicles. But the majority of OEM NGVs running today on the road are safe. Where as from what I've seen, the majority of aftermarket conversions running today on the road (at least in Utah) are not safe (i.e. bad installations) because they "did it themselves in their backyard" without knowing the regulations (NFPA - 52). So I will take my chances with the OEM NGV over the non-OEM NGV.

joe_kan
09-30-2011, 10:27 AM
I agree with you. All we can do is look out for ourselves. We can not "force" safety on to people. Someone will always do it themselves in their backyard. When I see a non-OEM NGV pull up to the fueling station, I am out of there as fast as cockroaches are when you turn on the light. Don't get me wrong....I am not saying that all OEM NGVs are safe and all non-OEM NGVs are dangerous. I have seen my fair share of damaged tanks on OEM vehicles. But the majority of OEM NGVs running today on the road are safe. Where as from what I've seen, the majority of aftermarket conversions running today on the road (at least in Utah) are not safe (i.e. bad installations) because they "did it themselves in their backyard" without knowing the regulations (NFPA - 52). So I will take my chances with the OEM NGV over the non-OEM NGV.

Highmarker - I understand your position but consider this. If statistics (not opinion) say is it less safe to drive by a truck with side mounted fuel tanks and bed mounted diesel tanks used to fuel other equipment why would you go out of your way to avoid the vehicle with the CNG tank while driving next to the other truck for hours?

I looked up the accident you mentioned. Sounds like maintenance & operational issues not design/installation issues that resulted in this particular accident. Sometimes our perception drives our fears as opposed to our knowledge. There are more people afraid to fly than people afraid to drive but statistically the accident/fatality rate is very much lower for commercial flights.

My intent here is not to say poor installations are OK with me (they are not). My intent is to say that government is not the answer - knowledge is the answer.

Not to intentionally muddy the water even further here but the whole EPA/CARB certfication discussion appears to lack a statistical basis in safety altogether (especially outside urban areas). Once again I'm not saying that good fuel economy and lower emissions are not important, however, are we going to allow some non-scientist politician to tell us how it is going to be?

As always - Just my opinion here.

Highmarker
09-30-2011, 11:08 AM
The incident in Carson, CA in 2007 was an issue with not getting the tanks inspected after an accident and not installation (although it was still safety related).


My intent here is not to say poor installations are OK with me (they are not). My intent is to say that government is not the answer - knowledge is the answer.

I am with you 100% on this. Knowledge is power. There are many in this industry that say, "Well, I am going to do this or that and I can get away with it because it is not in the laws or it is not being enforced." Forget EPA/CARB on this...this is about safety. Also there are many who do their own conversions without even knowing what NFPA 52 is or any other industry written specifications are. I have seen some people come to their senses on this and fix their conversion to be in conformance with NFPA-52, but then I have seen others think to themselves that complying with NFPA-52 is too much added work and just go on their way. It is a tough dilemma.

rtry9a
09-30-2011, 02:16 PM
IMHO, NFPA-52 is probably a good starting point for designing a system, but like all govt one-size-fits-all regs generally written by lobbyists, there are likely some parts that are important (and possibly could be improved upon) and a bunch that come more from the vested interests and lawyers (to insure their existence) that could/should be ignored. Id love to begin discussing the former in detail and less of the second (that seems to dominate threads around here).

joe_kan
09-30-2011, 04:26 PM
Perhaps this was the wrong thread to get into this type of discussion. Too many CNG techies here - I am also interested in the technology side but I need to make money first. As a user of NGVs for personal and business purposes it has become increasingly difficult to justify the higher costs associated with NGVs. I believe folks out there are trying to make it work and unfortunately they are doing things to save costs that are not well informed. My intent was to inject a perspective that shows even with these deficient installations the statistics show they are not significantly contributing to the accident and/or fatality rate. In fact checking ones tires would be of greater safety value.

digit
11-23-2011, 05:07 PM
Sorry, but NFPA 52 is not written by lobbyist. Join the committee and find out. They are always looking for knowledge.