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Considering a CNG Kit for Your Car? Read this

Karen Menezes Karen Menezes 06 October 2016

If you ever plan to get a CNG kit for your car then here is what you need to know. Learn about the advantages of keeping such a kit.

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Petrol costs around Rs. 67 per liter. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), meanwhile, is priced at around Rs. 41 per kilo.

Considering the stark difference between the prices of the two, it’s natural that you may consider fitting your car with a CNG kit. At least, that’s what Sagar, 31, thought. He promptly installed a CNG kit in his car to save cost and also be environment-friendly.

Experience, it is said, is the best teacher, and Sagar too learned the various pros and cons of a CNG kit after using it. Here’s what you can learn from Sagar’s experience starting with the pros:

Better Efficiency and Mileage

Sagar noticed a stark improvement in his car’s mileage after fitting the CNG kit. His car needed less fuel to cover the same distance. Moreover, it also costs less. There is a difference of around Rs. 3-5 in the per-kilometer cost of CNG and Petrol because of the lower pricing. This means CNG costs about half or more-than-half of Petrol. As a result, Sagar managed to save thousands of rupees every month in fuel costs. So hands down, CNG is a much more efficient.

Greater Safety

If you are as particular as Sagar about safety and value for money, then here’s some good news: CNG is a much safer alternative to petrol and diesel. It is not as flammable as petrol. So, it is more immune to catching fire. Moreover, CNG emits lesser carbon dioxide as compared to its competitors, making it safe for the environment too.

Cost Savings

Sagar got his CNG kit fixed with his Diwali bonus as it cost quite a significant amount – around Rs. 60,000. If you are considering getting a CNG kit, you may want to consider this initial cost. The good news, though, is that it can be quickly recovered in 2-3 years thanks to the low running cost. So after 2-3 years, you will be saving every time you fill your CNG tank compared to Petrol users. So a CNG kit is a viable option if you want to use the car for a long term.

Not Readily Available

Sagar wanted to go on a drive along the Maharashtra coastline over a long weekend. He left almost immediately after work with his wife and friends. His tank, however, was only half filled. Mid-way through the journey, Sagar realized the fuel needlepoint was pointing towards ‘E’ and he needed to refill urgently. It took him a good one hour to come across a fuel station that offered CNG. So if you are opting for a CNG kit, it is important that you re-fill the tank regularly as not every Fuel Pump offers CNG. That said, the demand for CNG is on the rise. India too has the 7th largest reserves for CNG, allowing it to increase supply. This could lead to an increase in the availability of CNG in the future. Until then, though, it may be worthwhile to tank it up.

Convertibility and Licensing

Sagar realized right away the two biggest pain points with CNG kits.

1) Not all cars are compatible with the CNG fuel system.
2) You need approvals from the government to get a CNG kit. This depends on the ‘CNG Approved’ listing of the state or union territory authority under which you register your eligibility to convert from petrol to CNG. It took Sagar many weeks to complete the row of formalities for acquiring a CNG kit for his car. Only after he got his Registration Certificate (RC) branded with a ‘fuel change’ seal did he start to use the CNG kit. You may want to check these aspects right away if you are considering a CNG kit! It may take less time to get the CNG kit with your new car rather than converting your old car and get its RC stamped.

Performance Hitches

Until Sagar fitted the CNG kit, his car ran smoothly without any jerks or starting problems. Those issues, however, crept once the CNG kit affected the car’s power and speed. His car also froze a few times if he tried to start it on cold winter mornings. As a result, his vehicle needed more maintenance than earlier.

Higher Car Insurance Premiums

While the CNG kit helped save Sagar thousands of rupees every month, he had to shell out more while paying his annual car insurance premium. This is because of the higher maintenance and damage costs associated with CNG cars. The definite increase in insurance premium depends on the make and age of the car. So you should check with your insurer before making the decision.

Key Takeaway

Like everything in life, a CNG kit too has its own pros and cons. On one hand, it manages to save a lot of your fuel costs. On the contrary, you will have to pay a high amount initially to install the kit. Not to mention the hassle of getting a conversion license. As a result, it may be a good option if you have many years of usage left to take advantage of the cost saving.

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Karen Menezes
Written by Karen Menezes
An optimist at heart, Karen loves to see the world through a pair of rose-tinted glasses. An award-winning blogger, she loves to dream with her eyes open. Writing is not her passion, it’s an OCD! If at all she isn’t writing, you can find her shopping online or experimenting with DIY recipes. This lass currently works as a Content Writer at Coverfox.