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"Can I convert my ____ to run on CNG?"

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  • "Can I convert my ____ to run on CNG?"

    We love our newcomers, and encourage those who are getting their feet wet with CNG to ask questions of the many experts after you have taken a few minutes to review the following:

    First of all, don't even think about turning a wrench on these 3600 psi fuel systems without proper training. Vehicles in the United States must meet DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 303 and 304 and National Fire Protection Association code 52. The NFPA-52 code can be downloaded here for free, and you can also download the Texas regulation (which closely mirrors NFPA-52) via the attachment to this post. If you want to see examples of safe and unsafe conversions please, review our sister site

    We have a private forum for NGV professionals. Please fax your credentials (ASE, CSA, state certifications, etc.) along with your CNGchat user name to: 1-801-406-0400 and we will provide access.

    The EPA recently streamlined the process to gain approval of conversion systems. If the vehicle model is over 2 model years old (for example model year 2012 vehicles if today is 2014) then it is pretty easy to get over the hurdle. This assumes, of course, the conversion is well engineered. The process is a simple one of running an FTP drive trace test in an emissions lab (about $2,000) to ensure the fuel conversion still meets the emission standard, submitting an OBD II scan tool report, and supplying EPA with a technical review of the conversion. Once approved this system can be installed onto unlimited vehicles of the same make and model year. Updates to approved conversion systems can be found at the EPA's web site here:
    Learn how emissions reductions, advancements in fuels and fuel economy, and working with industry to find solutions to air pollution problems benefit human and environmental health, create consumer savings and are cost effective.

    NGV America maintains a list of approved conversion systems too:

    California has its own certification requirements for alternative fuel conversions. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is now working toward also streamlining its requirements, albeit with more testing and costs than the EPA requires:
    Background California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff is proposing amendments to the alternative fuel conversion certification procedures for both new and in-use vehicles and engines. California regulations prohibit the conversion of previously CARB certified vehicles and engines to operate on an alternative fuel, such as natural gas or propane, in lieu of the original gasoline or diesel fuel unless the conversion has been evaluated and certified by CARB.

    CNGchat is a forum for the promotion of safe and legal products. We remove posts and ban users who use this forum to promote illegal and non-certified products (click here for our rules).

    Attached Files
    Last edited by John Mitton; 04-29-2015, 09:03 AM. Reason: Updated link to NGVA listing of approved systems

  • #2
    Re: "Can I convert my ____ to run on CNG?" READ THIS FIRST BEFORE POSTING!

    Convert Your Vehicle to Compressed Natural Gas - SAFELY Source - NGVAmerica - CVEF Thursday, 22 May 2008 USA
    The following bulletin was issued by NGVAmerica and the Clean Vehicle Education Foundation(CVEF). Though aimed at the US market, the safety message is relevant to most other markets as well.
    As gasoline and diesel prices continue to rise, many people are considering converting their car or light truck to run on compressed natural gas (CNG). CNG is a clean, inexpensive (currently selling for less than half the cost of gasoline) domestic fuel. Best of all, it uses zero imported (or domestic) petroleum. And government rebates are available to help with the cost of conversion and to further lower the cost of CNG fuel. But conversion from gasoline to CNG should not be done by unqualified technicians, using unapproved conversion kits or unsafe high-pressure gas cylinders.
    The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has rules concerning the manufacture, sale and installation of alternative fuel engine conversion systems. The California Air Resources Board has similar and even more stringent emission rules for conversions in that state. Only EPA and/or CARB-certified conversion systems are permitted to be installed on vehicles. While a variety of non-certified systems are sold on the Internet and/or offered by some automotive shops, EPA has taken the position that installation of these systems is "tampering with a federally approved emission control system", a federal violation punishable by a substantial financial penalty. Installation of non-certified systems can also cause a vehicle to fail emissions inspection.

    Because of the technical difficulty and the expense of EPA and CARB certification, certified conversions are only available for a limited number of engine families and applicable vehicle models. An up-to-date list of all currently available EPA- and CARB-certified engine retrofit and repower systems is available at NGVAmerica. New Honda Civic GX CNG vehicles, built in the USA, are also available in some states (see Honda).

    Installation of an engine conversion package and fueling system may be done when the vehicle is first purchased or after it has been in service. EPA and CARB require that converters provide appropriate documentation and training to installers of their systems. Installation by non-qualified installers is illegal and could damage the retrofit equipment or the engine (or both), compromise vehicle performance, or render the vehicle unsafe to operate. No EPA- or CARB-certified engine conversion systems are sold to untrained/unapproved installers.

    CNG conversions SHOULD NOT be performed by unqualified technicians! Properly installed CNG systems are safe and economical, with the vehicle operating almost exactly like a gasoline vehicle. However CNG systems rely on high-pressure compressed natural gas for fuel, and high-pressure gases require specialized components and technical skills for installation. Conversions should be done according to the National Fire Protection Association's Vehicular Fuel Systems Code (NFPA 52).

    CNG converters and vehicle owners are reminded that CNG cylinders, often the most expensive component of the fuel system, must carry labels showing they meet the applicable Department of Transportation standard (FMVSS 304) by the symbol "DOT" on the label. The label will show an expiration date, after which the cylinder may not be safely used. Cylinders should also be inspected for safety every three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first (see for more information). Converters and vehicle owners should have documentation that this safety inspection has been done.

    Detailed answers to "Frequently Asked Questions About Converting Vehicles to Operate on Natural Gas" are available from NGVAmerica.