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Future of CNG?

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  • Future of CNG?

    I'm interested in your opinions of what the future holds for cng in the USA.

    Here is mine:
    I really love my bi-fuel cng F-150 truck. I fear however that unless someone comes up with a reasonably priced conversion kit, the future is bleak.

    At this time, there is only one source of cng-fuelled vehicles- Honda. They make a fine automobile if you want a cheap small econobox that is only available in dedicated cng form, and therefore only useful for local use, since it does not have room for bigger tanks. IMHO, pickups, vans, or SUV's present the best cng options.

    Currently we have profited from a good source of (pickup trucks, mid-size cars, vans) vehicles built 3-10 years ago that have filtered down from various government agency fleets around the country. That source will likely dry up in the next few years as we fight a losing battle of attrition, except for the large busses and garbage trucks currently being converted. The "certified" conversions for other vehicles are terribly expensive... $12,000+ w/tank- high because of monopoly and EPA interference in the marketplace that should not be given the clean burning characteristics of natural gas combustion.

    Unless somehow we can get the EPA out of the process, it is unlikely that the big automakers will again provide cng vehicles for the masses. The only future, as I see it, is to go "black market". Personally, I plan to buy one of the non-EPA Argentinian kits and test it as soon as I can find a suitable tank- possibly to convert one of several old vehicles I happen to have available (Bronco or Mercedes) into a bi-fueler to get through the registration hassles.

  • #2
    Re: Future of CNG?

    The cost to convert is a real killer.
    The cost to set up a fueling station is also. 50,000 ( the last time I check about 8 years ago) for a compressor.

    I think in your owner association if you were to start collecting the drawings on different conversions then you may "Open source" some of the tricks of the trade so the places will have some competition.


    • #3
      Re: Future of CNG?

      I've heard those kits from South America and China don't work very well. The emulators go out and they always need worked on.


      • #4
        Re: Future of CNG?

        Much as I hate to say it, it seems to be an uphill battle for the private CNG vehicles. We see that the HOV incentive has not been enough by itself for dedicated CNG vehicles, even in Southern California, with some of the worst traffic in the US. For many years before the hybrids got into the HOV lanes, private CNG was barely a blip, even with good fueling infrastucture. It's taken serious hard cash incentives like Arizona and Utah, plus allowing bi-fuels to qualify, with low fuel prices into the bargain, to really get things going.

        I'm been amazed at the staying power of the market for larger gasoline vehicles in the face of prices. And we've seen how the hybrids have sucked away demand and attention from CNG. I have to wonder if hydrogen will eventually kill off small CNG vehicles, perhaps speeded by diversion of incentive dollars from the smog agencies in this direction. It'll take a long time for mass production to bring costs down, and for fueling infrastructure, but it this where the auto manufacturers are hanging their hats after hybrids?